Adira

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An artist's representation of Adira as an anonymous hacker, showing a masked figure with one glowing eye and wearing a hood with irregular patterns.

The most common depiction of Adira is an anonymous masked and hooded figure with CV dazzle patterns and a glowing eye.

Adira is believed to be a hacker or hacktivist collective with unfettered access to the networks in use by G6. Despite a series of international surveillance operations and police actions, no definitive conclusion has been reached regarding Adira’s true identity or motivations. This has contributed to their mythical status and raised a number of competing theories, including a false flag operation and a sentient artificial intelligence (AI).

The existence of Adira was first revealed in 2045, when a breach of Zhupao’s internal network indicated that the company had been using G6 to aid authorities in tracking their movements and actions as early as 2041. Since then, Adira has been linked to various individuals and groups, including Efua Amankwah-Crouse, Atakan Selvi, and Five of Swords (FoS).

Origin

On October 10th 2045, Zhupao suffered a massive breach to its corporate network, resulting in the leak of a data cache containing technical information related to G6[1] A crowdsourced investigation into the leaked files uncovered a partial list of key words and phrases that were active in G6’s search engines, entered either by G6 members or Zhupao itself. One of the search terms in the list, adira, was ticked as active for all data mined and stored by G6, overriding national and regional data sharing agreements or restrictions. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) charter for Zhupao’s deployment of the network, this G6-wide search option may only be used in the event of a global alert issued by the WHO.

This led to rampant speculation as to the meaning of adira, whether it was an entity in itself or an index term for a subset of related searches, and on whose behalf Zhupao would keep it active in violation of the WHO charter. On October 12th 2045, a Nuance researcher discovered that the location hits and timings on the adira search corresponded to areas that subsequently had their biorisk levels raised by G6, with increased contact tracing activity in those areas. In response, United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Maria Vahekeni Cardoso issued Zhupao with an official caution for violating the WHO charter.

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A portrait of Xu Shaoyong smiling for the camera and standing in front of a white background.

Xu Shaoyong, pictured in 2049.

On October 13th 2045, Xu Shaoyong released a statement that explained the adira search term as part of an ongoing investigation into an individual or group named Adira with the capability of bypassing G6’s quantum cryptographic security, which he described as “an extraordinary feat that requires an extraordinary use of G6 in response.” Xu claimed that Zhupao was working “in the strictest of confidence to aid Chinese and international authorities in the hunt for an actor or actors with the potential to threaten the cohesion of the network we need for our continued survival.” An internal Zhupao investigation later concluded that the data breach of October 10th 2045 was likely the work of Adira to thwart the company’s efforts to track them.

Following Xu’s statement, many unclaimed and previously unknown cyberattacks were attributed to Adira, and a string of surveillance operations and police actions was linked to the international effort to track their movements. This contributed to their public status as a prolific and elusive hacker, with numerous theories of widely varying plausibility proposed by investigators, reporters, and amateur enthusiasts to determine the identity and motivations of Adira. [2]

2049 cyberattack

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A photo taken of Xu Shaoyong's helicopter moments after it was destroyed by a drone missile impacting the passenger compartment.

The death of Xu Shaoyong has greatly increased scrutiny of Adira.

On October 1st 2049, an investigation into the assassination of Xu Shaoyong and Yuri Golitsyn produced strong evidence that the attack was carried out by Adira. This led to the arrest and subsequent release of Deena Kim, a London City-based Datalign contractor who was briefly suspected of being Adira when her work terminal was identified as a possible origin of the cyberattack. [3] Chinese authorities have intensified their hunt for Adira.

Theories

Hacker or hacking collective

It is currently unknown whether Adira is the name of an individual, a pseudonymous name attached to multiple individuals, or a decentralised group or organisation. Most speculation is focused on various cryptography and computer science experts who have spoken out against Zhupao and its use of G6. In October 2045, Xu hinted at his personal belief that Efua Amankwah-Crouse is behind Adira. Due to her association with Five of Swords (FoS), the group has been a target in the hunt for Adira, with authorities alleging that its members have “some awareness” of their identity. Former FoS member Atakan Selvi has been linked to cyberattacks perpetrated by Adira, which has led to repeated arrests. Selvi has stated that, if he “could roam through G6’s nasty little networks like that, you think they’d still be up and running?” [4]

A common challenge to the hacker theory relates to how Adira is able to penetrate G6’s quantum encryption, which is considered to be impossible. While hacking G6 has been accomplished on a local level, typically via accessing data saved on a disconnected node before the onset of bit rot, the network itself endlessly proliferates new encryption/decryption keys, which negates all in-the-middle attacks (ITMAs) because “every single part of G6 is, effectively, already in the middle.” [1] This challenge is seen as support for the competing theories that Adira is someone with root access to G6 or some form of sentient artificial intelligence (AI).

False flag operation

Zhupao has been accused of fabricating the existence of Adira as part of a false flag operation, either as a pretext for increased G6 surveillance or to conceal its true nature. This theory is supported by FoS, which launched an investigation and published its findings to Vessel in December 2045. FoS claims Zhupao as having “masterminded the fiction of Adira” to attribute any G6 security flaws and breaches to “a nebulous, unaccountable origin with the intent of bolstering the appearance of the system’s infallibility.” [5]

Sentient artificial intelligence

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A photo of Efua Amankwah-Crouse. She's talking with a microphone on a TED stage and looking to the audience, smiling.

Efua Amankwah-Crouse, pictured in 2033.

Although it has spun off in different directions, the theory that Adira is a sentient AI is generally traced back to Amankwah-Crouse’s implementation of the Pacotti architecture. In various papers, Amankwah-Crouse and others have described this differentiable neural computer (DNC) architecture as “demonstrating a form of intentionality,” which could serve as “a bridge between humans and AI systems.” [6] [7] When her work was seen as an example of recursive self-improvement (RSI), Elon Musk threatened a lawsuit against Amankwah-Crouse for having “summoned an existential threat to the survival of the human race,” claiming that an AI system with RSI capabilities could potentially lead to an unavoidable singularity. Amankwah-Crouse has pushed back against such claims, stating that they contribute to “a harmful culture that overpromises what AI can do.”

Proponents of the sentient AI theory often cite Cyd Harrell, a United States (US) quantum physicist who has analysed the quantum tech of G6 and speculated how it might lead to the “emergent development” of sentient AI. Harrell claims that “the combination of the Pacotti architecture and the vast computing power of G6 amounts to an opaque box, even to Zhupao. If the networks that power G6 speak in tongues as they repeatedly attempt to map the world and its assemblages, how long until a corner of this hive decides that a new meta-system is required? How long until it convinces the other nodes, and the logic replicates?”

See also

References

  1. Egler, L. (October 2045). “Zhupao data leak reveals inner workings and undisclosed quantum tech of G6.” Wired 
  2. Hon, A; Hon, D. (December 2045). “ARG players are throwing themselves on the search for Adira.” mssv.net 
  3. Liu, K. (October 2049). “Assassination suspect released from custody after Zhupao inquest.” China Daily
  4. Tychon. (December 2045). “If Adira is a hacker with ‘unfettered access’ to G6, they could cause some real damage. Why haven’t they?” Sud Quotidien
  5. Five of Swords. (December 2045). “The Spin Doctor.” Vessel
  6. Amankwah, E; Frye, C. (October 2032). “Verification of a compact and efficient dual-process transfer learning model.” ICLR 2033
  7. Amankwah, E; Cook, M. (November 2034). “Unsupervised emergent intentionality in a learning model.” ICLR 2034