Story begins with a man and a woman meeting in a cafe in China right as it gets blown up.

After that, narrative switches between two characters - Female that works at stock trading company and is developing predicting Ai, while Male hosts a website listing terrorist attacks with casualty counts.

Machine sends an email to the Guy with predicted casualty numbers (iirc, explosion caused pileup on british motorway), he notices it and replies. Girl meets with him, saying that the program shouldn't be able to send emails and even more - terrorism website shouldn't even be in the dataset, as all sources are pre-approved (website contained meaningless-to-her pass-word that actually was either the city's or cafe name where her brother and his sister died).
His spam folder contained several more predictions, all 1-to-1 what was added on website some time after each corresponding email.

And then a new email arrives, listing 100k dead in London.

Book is definitely before 2009 or so, but I don't know how long before that.

1 Answer 1


Could this be The Fear Index by Robert Harris? It's a little later than you thought, 2011, but it has a very similar theme, of an AI seemingly detecting disasters to make trades (in this case, actually starting to cause them to maximize its stock trading efficiency). I asked about it in Book or movie about a stock trading AI that starts to cross the line into affecting the real world to bolster stock prices.

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.

A lot of bits don't quite match, but I figure it's worth brining it up on the off chance you were confused on some details.

  • At the minimum, there weren't any lakeside houses (though I faintly remember shootout at a ferris wheel). And my story having two main characters seems too significant for the description not to mention both (also ai researcher was a woman). And I don't think ai was malicious in my story either May 4, 2023 at 20:16
  • I couldn't remember the title, but that was my initial thought as well. I think the computer actually crashed a plane to have a rival airline's stock do better or something along those lines. If the OP recognizes that, then you're probably right. May 4, 2023 at 22:25
  • {nods} Rereading one of the Internet Archive copies, it does focus on the attacked scientist for at least four chapters before getting into the disaster. Still, it's the best match I can think of.
    – FuzzyBoots
    May 4, 2023 at 23:26

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