Somewhere in the last ten years, I either watched a film, or read a book (I think, actually, probably the latter) where the central "foe" of the work was a stock-trading artificial intelligence. As I recall, it started with a quant looking at the computer's stock trades, and realizing that a situation where they initially believed the computer had made a rapid series of trades to capitalize on a terrorist attack was instead of a matter of the computer making those trades prior to the attack, suggesting that either the computer predicted the attack, or actually caused it to happen. Said quant does not survive that discovery as they're eliminated via the building's security system as the computer preemptively removes a threat to profitability. For some reason, in my brain, he gets gunned down by the system, although that seems a little too overt a solution.

What I don't recall is how the system gets foiled in the end or, for that matter, who opposes it, although obviously the plot does require someone to figure out and (at least try to) foil the computer's murderous scheme.


1 Answer 1


The Fear Index by Robert Harris, 2011

His name is carefully guarded from the general public but within the secretive inner circles of the ultra-rich Dr Alex Hoffmann is a legend, a visionary scientist whose computer software turns everything it touches into gold.

Together with his partner, an investment banker, Hoffmann has developed a revolutionary form of artificial intelligence that tracks human emotions, enabling it to predict movements in the financial markets with uncanny accuracy. His hedge fund, based in Geneva, makes billions.

But then in the early hours of the morning, while he lies asleep with his wife, a sinister intruder breaches the elaborate security of their lakeside house. So begins a waking nightmare of paranoia and violence as Hoffmann attempts, with increasing desperation, to discover who is trying to destroy him.

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