This is probably late 1990s early 2000s by Walter Jon Williams. Short story, easy to remember, aside from me not knowing the title.

  • AIs, along with the top 2% of smartest people, basically run everything and provide for everything. People aren't really in need or oppressed, but they don't have much to do. This isn't gone into in any detail, it's quite a short story.

  • The protagonist, a near genius, and his anarchist friends have found, IIRC, some kind of enzyme or viral computer code that is going to "knock out the AIs".

  • They launch their revolution and... nothing much happens. The AIs immediately counteract it and the big attack is shut down within 5 minutes or so. Nothing really happens, no police comes a-knockin', they're ignored. It concludes with the protagonist recognizing that they never had a chance to start with and are insignificant.

I looked at Walter Jon Williams' page on Wikipedia and FictionDb, searched for his short stories, "AI 2% dinosaurs". None struck me as a match. "Dinosaurs" looked like it might be, but it's unrelated.

It's also funny in that it was specifically 2% and predated the entry into the vernacular about the top 1% that we are now familiar with.


This is the story "Flatline" from WJW's collection Facets.

The story concerns an attack by the protagonist's friend Lewis on the matte-black octahedron of "Neurodyne Intelgene A.G." using a tailored virus that, injected into the AI, causes a 20-minute outage. (The octahedron is described as standing on a point, maintained by constant adjustment by the AI.)

The narrator is initially fearful for his friend, but comes to the realization that the AI (collectively; this one and others like it) permit, and may even subtly encourage, such people as a way of constantly testing and improving their defences. In the end he goes into that line as well, basically for something to do.

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