There are, military sociologists estimate, around three dozen weaponized ideas in the world ready to explode at any given time. A few are ongoing non-state actor attacks; those are the most primitive and certain to be detected in time. Most are leftovers from the Golden Age of quantitative semiotics before panicked elites realized what they had unleashed and made them illegal in the Rio Treaty. You can build a luxurious bunker to hide from nuclear fallout, but, it turned out, economic and political structures can’t be shielded against AI-designed self-modifying viral concepts.
The Rio Riots had been proof of that, and nobody with power of any kind wanted to risk theirs. The treaty had been signed in earnest, the UN/W3C monitoring teams given resources and access the IAEA had only dreamed of, technology shared and known attacks carefully defused.
Yet three dozen ideas (within a large margin of uncertainty AIs refuse to reduce) remain at large, each mutated beyond easy recognition. With no sure way to clear it up, immense amounts of money and lobbying power is being directed towards building a new Internet, clean and contained from the start. A virtual space made safe for the status quo. A walled garden large enough to move everybody inside.
Those who lead, those who design, those who build -- they aren't prone to introspection. They don't talk about their sleepless nights or their sudden waking. They seldom remember their nightmares.
But in the too-early morning the idea of what they are doing is stronger than ever in their minds, with the sureness of revelation, with the brightness of an explosion.