Dystopian short story - an agent on Earth, reads that a mathematician has a method to factor products of two huge primes, so he tries to contact him and suppress knowledge, but it's too late. The AI wakes up, takes over the world, and agent goes back to his parallel universe, which is ruled by sympathetic AI.

  • Do you mean a method to factor huge composite numbers efficiently? It's possible to factor any number given enough computing power and time, but doing it in a reasonable amount of time with modest computing power is very difficult.
    – RichS
    Sep 10, 2017 at 5:32
  • That's the point of the story- the algorithm is so efficient it catalyzes an AI becoming so capable it rapidly takes over the world-and lets us know this has happened before in countless parallel universes.
    – VWFeature
    Apr 23, 2020 at 19:47

1 Answer 1


That sounds like "Antibodies" by Charles Stross. It's in his collection Toast (you can download it from Charles' webpage, here and read the story here)

Protagonist finds out a mathematician has just proved P=NP. He and his partners, spies for some unknown authority, try to suppress the information - at first the reader has no idea why - but fail. They decide to escape instead, and just barely make it as AI quickly takes over human society; there's a scene where they sneak past security officers wearing unusual earpieces who are clearly being remote controlled. As they escape into a parallel universe, the protagonists reflect on their good luck in coming from one of the few timelines not taken over by AI - but it becomes obvious to the reader that they are also under control, and have been brainwashed into believing that their AI overlord is the good one.

  • This answer would be much better if you gave some indication of why you thought this was a match. Sep 10, 2017 at 2:44
  • Fair enough, I've edited my answer to add plot details.
    – Ross Smith
    Sep 10, 2017 at 3:45
  • 1
    We can assume that the plot summary is your own, since there is no attribution?
    – user14111
    Sep 10, 2017 at 3:50
  • 1
    Instead of mentioning just one collection containing that story, it would be more helpful to more users to link to the full list.
    – user14111
    Sep 10, 2017 at 3:54
  • Yup, that's it, thanks!
    – VWFeature
    Sep 17, 2017 at 20:16

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