Oh my goodness I've just learned a thing about The Matrix that causes it to make a lot more sense: In the original script the humans were used as neural network compute clusters by the Machines and as a crucial component of The Matrix itself.
Which is why humans who were aware of the simulation could control aspects of The Matrix - their minds were part of its foundation.
Unfortunately the test audiences had trouble understanding this concept so the studio changed the human role to "batteries".
@SinaCutie I'm just going to pretend that when Morpheus refers to humans as batteries it's an allegory for how the humans "power the matrix" as computing platforms
That's some pretty solid headcanon. Though you'd think if folks are willing to erase the rat from the Departed (https://web.archive.org/web/20190219195836/https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adamsacks/digitally-erase-the-rat-from-the-end-of-the-depart ) maybe they could ADR in some slightly different dialogue.
@polychrome Oh, yeah, also do you know how the line about "residual self-image" was supposed to be more significant?
Hyperion novel spoilers Show more
Weird coincidence. In Dan Simmons' Hyperion, the Technocore uses the human brain to power their computing network. Except instead of keeping humans in pods, they use telecasters to teleport humans, steal computing time from them, and later teleport them to their destination.
Further spoiler: And later, they use cruciforms.
@polychrome The change always bugged me because humans make terrible power sources, but I have to admit, I _do_ kinda get a kick out of the idea that humans actually make great power sources in reality and that the laws of thermodynamics are simply the Matrix lying to us about how physics works.
Ugh, I hate that. I hate when studio execs complain that a concept is "too cerebral".
It's okay to have a TV show or movie where the audience has to think.
For people who absolutely refuse to use their brain well there's an Adam Sandler movie every few years for them so they aren't left out.
@polychrome that makes so much more sense and works with the whole allegory of the thing so much better.
@polychrome I swear everything I _don't_ like about "The Matrix" was probably the result of studio pressure
@polychrome Nooooo, test audience ! You had one job!!! 😂
Thanks for sharing this, it really makes a lot more sense like this!
@polychrome In retrospect I don't really think that audeinces really paid any attention to the battery part. It was more like "Wow cool robot" but "Wow cool trenchcoat".
So maybe they should have left it in the script.
@Deiru actually for once I wouldn't be sure that they didn't - The Matrix caused a short lived fad where mainstream people went philosophical and kept discussing the "ideas in the movie" to the point where there were books that people actually wrote and bought on the subject.
So yeah I think if the studio did choose to leave that in people would have noticed.
As many times as I have heard or participated in this discussion about matrix I have never heard a single person actually acknowledge the fact that humans were batteries.
Just being "loaded into matrix" seemed enough, and nobody really cared why they were loaded.
At least that's how it was for my peers at the time. (And still)
@polychrome I take it back, I have just read exactly the analysis that used the batteries metaphor, so I guess you are right.
@polychrome I always suspected that - or at least, I always thought it would have made more sense that way. Good to have confirmation.
@polychrome oh fuck. That detail would have made it a way better movie.
And it could also explain how Neo could be "The One" without it just being magical savior powers; he's just the random human who holds a very unique position in the neural network, that makes him able to influence (almost?) everything in the execution.
Wow, that just fits so much better in practically every way.
And is oddly parallel to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy too...
Morpheus: What is the Matrix? Control. The Matrix is a computer-generated dream world built to turn a human being into this:
@polychrome I always argued this must be the case! I am very excited to hear I might be right. Do you have a link to the evidence?
@andybalaam you can hear the Wachowskis discussing this in the DVD commentary for one of the Director's Cuts.
@polychrome Sorry, but it still makes no sense, as there is still no reason for the machines to keep the humans anyways — needing them to power the simulation that is only needed to keep them alive doesn't count, as it's a cyclic argument.
I mean, also, it was documented as just being confusing. It might have made a stronger concept in the abstract, but in execution, they failed to communicate it clearly. To me it seems like a great novelistic idea, but it's easy to see how this would be more difficult to get across in a film.
Anyway, this is a minor transgression in comparison to the sequels!
@deshipu @polychrome The Animatrix strongly implies that the machines were originally programmed with Asimov's Laws, and that the war with the humans was inevitable once the machines gained the ability to break the first law and harm humans in self-defense. But they need to keep humanity alive, because they were not able to break the zeroth law. Hence the Matrix – someplace safe to keep the human species alive.
@gcupc @deshipu @polychrome Another option would be that the simulation isn’t the only running task. The machines have other needs for such vast computing power, but also need to timeshare them with the simulation so the compute nodes stay happy and distracted, or at least mostly sane and distracted.
Every time we fill a paper form,or answer a telemarketer,or do some bullshit job we are really completing a step in the computing task
And the sad thing is that this would be better than the reality
Using humans to actually run the matrix kind of makes sense, since making up stories about humans is precisely what our brains are specialized for, and pretty much the only thing they are good at. But I can't imagine any other conceivable use for them, unless there are some other, wild, humans somewhere that the machines need to interact with.
@alexis @pasqui023 @gcupc @polychrome It's not about ruling things out, it's about plausibility, or at least willful suspension of disbelief. As soon as you assume you can't reason about it, everything goes and you have total surrealizm — which is fun, of course, but probably not what the movie is trying to achieve. In that sense, even the oversimplified battery explanation is better than no explanation at all, as it at least removes the issue and lets you focus on the movie's message.
@polychrome couple this with the idea that we never see reality, only two layers of the matrix, and it all makes sense
ｃｙｂｒｅｓｐａｃｅ: the social hub of the information superhighway
jack in to the mastodon fediverse today and surf the dataflow through our cybrepunk, slightly glitchy web portal