I finally managed to resurrect the old cellphone that contained the book I was thinking of and found it:
Beautiful Red (2012) by M. Darusha Wehm
The future is boring. Technology has solved the world's most pressing problems, leaving people with tedious work and mundane play. Jack is a Security Officer Class 5, which sounds important, but isn't. However, her banal life as a cubicle worker by day and tinkerer by night is interrupted when she discovers that her employer's computer system has been invaded. Jack enlists the help of her only friends - her co-worker, Gilles and Adrian, an online friend she's never met - to help her track down the source of the invasion. Her investigation leads her to a shadowy group called the Red, where Jack learns that not everyone lives a life of quiet servitude. Even though she believes that the Red are responsible for a series of gruesome attacks, Jack begins to become attracted to their worldview. In her search for the people responsible for the attacks, she confronts the leaders of the group as well as her own burgeoning sense of self-awareness.
The facts of the plot that I remembered match up as follows:
- The identity of Red is later to be revealed as someone Jack knew.
- The tidbit about Artificial Intelligence was a single paragraph in chapter 20:
She found some more files tagged “BR”, and quickly scanned through them. It was a strange mix of information. There were some more specs from the European chimpanzee study, several clippings from boards devoted to the creation and study of intelligent agents, some philosophical studies of sentience and old work on creating artificial intelligence. That last grouping was pretty strange. Long ago, scientists had concluded that intelligent agents could only ever achieve sentience though an evolutionary-type process - that only through learning could they become self aware. While it hadn’t happened yet, this was the commonly accepted theory. But Lars had been collecting work from before that theory became common, designs for ways to create fully sentient machines from scratch.