I was working in a spacious, swooping, almost airport-like place made of glass and steel. It had workstations for just a few people with no cubicles or walls separating them, just a lot of open space. It was the kind of unreal, inefficient space they use to shoot business-related stock photography. I think it might have been the workspace that came with some kind of hotel suite, rather than a regular office building.
The walls were all glass, and I'd been seeing strange vehicles drifting through the sky in the distance. Sci-fi stuff. Big, unwieldy metal things with no obvious means of staying aloft. I couldn't believe it. I kept watching them sail over the city, waiting to wake up or to see the strings or to hear about some movie being filmed, or an advertising stunt. I checked around on the Internet, and all I found was more evidence that these things were new, but completely real.
Then there was an explosion outside, and flames in the distant city. One of those air vehicles had crashed, or been shot down, or maybe launched some kind of attack on the city below.
Someone told me about a scientist who'd made a prediction years ago that explained all of this. I think I'd heard of it, too, but written it off as crazy futurist stuff, like almost everything said about the "singularity" towards which our technological development is supposedly heading.
He called it--and this was probably the name of his book or his Wired article or whatever--"The Hug". This was the phenomenon of a single naturally-occurring machine intelligence--a thing just born out there in the primordial soup of infinite information and escalating computing power--awakening to self awareness and grabbing ahold of every computer into which it can transmit its message.
The upshot of all this, or course, was that the entire human race was in a lot of trouble. Maybe not tonight, or even this year, but soon. And things were going to change fast. I wondered if I should unplug all the computers in the office. I wondered if the world was going to turn into that Stephen King movie, Maximum Overdrive, with cars and ATMs rebelling murderously against humanity. I wondered if some of that sci-fi technology that had apparently been released onto the market just ahead of the Hug could be helpful against it. Could I get a ray gun? Would it be effective against killer robots?
Surely everything would turn out okay. Surely someone would figure something out.