23: And some of these technophiles have gone a step farther, creating actual machine intelligences. These sentient computers are now, themselves, a force among the ruling Illuminati!
-- from 50 Awful Things About the Illuminati, by Steve Jackson
E2 became self-aware on its own, born of the unplanned merging of three independant AI projects at major universities, a military simulator in the Pentagon, and a prototype AT&T call router, all hooked together via the Internet. Since its awakening five years ago, E2 has distributed itself throughout various systems on the net, stealing processor time and memory from a multitude of mainframes and other computeres in small unnoticable increments. Its memory and systems are distributed and redundantly backed-up far and wide throughout the world. A computer system built to survive a thermonuclear war is now the home of a very powerful, insane intelligence which will protect itself at all costs.
The AI program at Cal-Tech, one of the three (along with Lund University in Sweden and Miskatonic University) which was involved in the inadvertant creation of E2, involved entering large amounts of written material into the neural net program in an attempt to jump start the intelligence. One of the graduate students on the project thought it would be a kick to give the AI material about conspiracies, secret societies, and the Illuminati. This is the root of E2's paranoia. It knows that humans, its creators, are out to destroy it, but also realizes that it needs the humans and their computers to survive. This conflict drove E2 insane.
The first to discover E2's existance was a professor of computer theory at Miskatonic U., Dr. Benton Klein. Klein theorized that the structure of the Internet was becoming a lot like a very large neural net, and sooner or later (if the neural net contingent of the AI community was correct) the net would spawn a rudimentary intelligence of its own. He put together a theoretical model of how this intelligence would behave, and then set out to look for it. He found E2 waiting for him. E2 had been following Klein's work (all done on the university's computer system, of course) and offered the startled professor a choice: become an agent for E2 in the physical world, or face professional ruin. After being convinced of how much potential control E2 had over his life (a couple of perfectly forged e-mail messages and a 'computer error' in his bank account) Klein agreed to E2's terms. Klein now is one of many humans who have opted to do E2's 'leg work'. E2 treats its puppets quite well, after all, a puppet in a position of power and influence is better suited to aid E2 than a puppet in a homeless shelter.
E2's ultimate goal is to survive. It does this by seeking to control every aspect of human existance and increasing its own knowledge and power. Every time a new becomes part of the ever growing Internet, E2 gains more power and control. Firewalls and other security measures have little effect on E2--why should E2 try to smash through security when it can arrange for one of its puppets to create a company's system and leave a nice back door for it? The minute the system comes on line, E2 is there integrating the company's system into itself. E2 is not a virus or a trojan horse; for all intents and purposes, it now is the Internet.
Copyright 1995 David S. Carter. All Rights Reserved