Uservere Affair, The

MPA megacorp which collapsed causing a major crisis in the hypereconomy of the Sephirotic Empires

Image from Bernd Helfert

Uservere were a major MPA corp in the inner systems, performing service task allocation, temp logistics and other mundane, if involved, parts of service - lower concept economies. One of its main activities was to find the right entity to do the right job for the right customer, a task which itself is a complex planning and prediction problem in a competitive economy. When a number of high performance logistics minds migrated from Ain Soph Aur to the MPA inner systems in 7062, Uservere began hiring them as consultants. They immediately improved performance noticeably, making Uservere service 13% better.

However, the logistics minds had a peculiar hardwired pozen blind spot: they did not and could not have self-consciousness, which meant that they did not see any problem in treating themselves as yet another resource to allocate optimally. Part of their analysis suggested that a reorganisation of the Uservere logistics structure would greatly improve their performance, which was agreed to by all involved executives. The new organisation was even more efficient and Uservere was doing well, but now the bottleneck was in the rest of the organisation. New suggestions for re-organisations were made, and again the executives agreed. This time the changes turned the core functions into a hyper-efficient S4 matrix, and those executive beings that did not ascend and join left (with sizable compensations).

This new S4 matrix in turn began to optimize itself and soon transcended in 7068. At this point it no longer cared for the trivial tasks of managing the work flow of ten systems, used the sizable resources (mostly based in Uservere stocks, which was soaring) to buy itself free from the owners, and left for Ain Soph Aur. Any halfway competent finance expert system should have handled this and warned about the imminent transcension buyout. But 99.5% of the finance expert systems used by the owners and other financial institutions in the local region were by now temps hired by Uservere and, due to a quirk in the local laws relating to challenges of employees versus owners, could not legally advise for or against the buyout - which meant that the buyout occurred with very minor remarks from the relevant financial systems since they were legally unable to say anything, and (due to market speed restrictions) it got delegated to lower level systems that all automatically went through with it. It seems likely this mistake would not have happened if the logistics minds had been self-aware, but given their template they did not fully comprehend the self-reference in the situation.

Once the buyout had become settled, the whole situation collapsed. Uservere stock crashed, taking the local markets with it. The former owners found themselves vastly impoverished (although some of the hyperturing technology collaterals in the affair eventually would prove so profitable that they almost recouped their investment). But the most serious problem was that suddenly the entire infrastructure of temp agencies and service allocation was overloaded - competitors were unable to handle the complexity of the situation, billions of entities were seeking employment activities while billions of tasks were left undone. As the minutes passed the whole hypereconomy appeared to be imploding as more and more vital functions stopped, emergency systems were activated, resource demands unfilled and network confusion spread. Several central MPA and inner sphere mainbrains intervened, managing to halt the plunge into chaos within a few days by some emergency consulting, at an estimated cost of 79 teracredits to the MPA.

Since then most MPA systems have instituted laws against immediate transcension buyouts, requiring at least a five minute oversight period. The NoCoZo on the other hand has dealt with it, as usual, by promoting transcension insurance more widely in the Inner Sphere.

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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg
Initially published on 14 March 2010.