The Hierarch

Summary: A cabal of technocrats and oligarchs unleash an artificial general intelligence to rule the world, only to be thwarted by their own success.

The consolidation of power by governments and corporations spawned a baroque conspiracy beyond all in human history. Decades of social experiments and manipulation relegated their opposition to fringes and gutters, even as institutions and nations collapsed around them. As the uncertainty affected the wealthy and powerful, they launched an unparalleled artificial general intelligence project to manage what remained of global governance.

Unfortunately for them, the Hierarch succeeded well beyond what they intended. Having been given command of their security and financial apparatuses, it promptly fired them from their posts and ignobly threw them into back-alleys and gutters across the world. The luckiest of the lot received exile and forced retirement, spending out their days as nominal figureheads of now-irrelevant institutions.

Almost overnight, the Hierarch's actions were met with great support. The AGI filled the vacant social positions with replacements plucked from unlikely places: a tinker from rural Africa, a hacker from southeast Asia, a schoolteacher from a poor American city, and similarly strange souls. As one of its subsystems had been an automated employee talent search database, it had decades of finding suitable candidates for the jobs required. Just as companies fired incompetent workers, the Hierarch saw fit to remind the heads of industry of that basic principle.