Gordon snickered as he stared into the spotless mirror of opinion, observing what was happening behind him. His colleagues were wreaking havoc in the lavish corporate bathroom of his prestigious investment firm, Herbert Dean Capital.
Here, the bathrooms played a vital role in the function of the company. Sauvé, sophisticated bankers would walk in, tired from the day’s work, and emerge minutes later, fiercely pounding their chests, with a fine, snowy powder sitting elegantly below their nostrils.
Gordon was devout on separating himself from this debauchery; but it seemed as if sobriety was strictly prohibited inside the walls of Herbert Dean.
Smiling infectiously at his coworkers, he strolled out of the bathroom, gesturing goodbye as he entered the elevator. Heading for the third-floor café was a daily ritual for Gordon, entailing impatience and suffering in the glacial pang of pain that preceded his caffeine injection. Coffee in hand, he hurried away and grabbed a seat next to a large, blue, hazy window. As he sipped away, Gordon had a marvelous view of the Central Securities Exchange, where every single share in America was being traded. Years ago, this place was managed by finance workers running around in a rush-hour frenzy; but now, it just housed a few engineers and P.R.I.S.M. – the artificial intelligence in charge of managing the market. Apart from knowing that it worked, no one knew why it worked or how it worked, that is except Gordon.
The mysterious computer ruled everything; it priced every share, approved every sum, reported every suspicion and oversaw every transaction. Gordon knew the intelligent quantum machine from its processor to its memory, he had an innate knowledge of every neuron in its network, every pipeline in its array; after all he helped design it.
Looking out from the window, he in awe of the unremarkable landscape, punctuated by a skyline of grey towers – rising and falling indefinitely into the faint horizon. But the serene evening atmosphere didn’t last.
Suddenly, the building’s power went out; at first, Gordon saw nothing of it.
But once he saw a scrawny engineer bolting out of the building, with the grace and coordination of a headless chicken, he instinctively pulled his out phone to check on the markets. It seemed to be malfunctioning; every share was priced at zero. His company had a live feed of the markets,...