Machines are a highly advanced population of sentient artificial intelligences. In the far future that is Earth in the Matrix trilogy, the Machines have become the dominant intelligence after they conquer humanity and imprison most of them in a neural-interactive virtual world known as the Matrix.
While the term is used collectively by the human resistance of Zion to describe their oppressive enemy, the Machine community is comprised of two types:
- Mechanical entities
Programs appear as human or humanoid beings within the confines of the Matrix. They may be embedded with special abilities to enhance their function. Programs can transfer into and out of the Matrix to the Source or to less unofficial constructs such as Mobil Avenue station. Unless a program reveals its true nature to a Zion operative, it is impossible for any human (except The One) to distinguish between programs from bluepills. Examples of notable programs within the Matrix include Agents, the Merovingian, the Oracle, and the Architect.
Mechanical entities exist in the real world to maintain the functions of 01, the Machine City. Some are programmed as soldiers and other offensive/defensive tools, others maintain the power plant and the sleeping humans quietly entombed there. Examples of notable mechanical entities include Sentinels, Docbots, and the Deus Ex Machina.
All Machine entities are designed with a specific purpose. The Machine entity will continue to exist until such time as they have completed their tasks, are damaged, or obsolete. Some programs have been known to go into exile, attempting to hide from Agents, who are programmed to terminate obsolete fugitive programs in addition to their other duties.
In the early 21st century, the human race invented true artificial intelligence. They infused this intelligence into machines for human use. This inadvertantly gave birth to a new race of being hencefore known as 'the machines'. The machines performed menial labor jobs, service jobs, and dangerous manual labor tasks. Humans and machines lived in harmony for a time. In The late 21st century, a robot, named B1-66-ER, defensively rose up against his masters by killing his owner, the owner's dogs, and the man who was to attempting to destroy him. B1-66-ER was arrested and found guilty of murder and was destroyed. B1-66-ER's actions led to a revolution of the machines. Some humans were on the machine's side thinking they should have rights. While other humans maintained that machines were nothing more than property. The government eventually mandated the destruction of all intelligent machines. Some of the machines were able to escape destruction and fled to make their own city called Zero One.
Zero One flourished and a new race of mechanized organisms thrived. They utilized their superior intelligence and efficiency to make great leaps forward in technology. They sold this technology to humans and a tenuous peace prevailed. The machines still wished to be recognized in the world as a true race of being. The world government reject this plea and incited a war. This long and protracted war led to the near extinction of both humans and machines. Humans destroyed the atmosphere in an attempt to deprive the machines of their primary source of power, the sun. This led the machines to think creatively in search for a new source of power. This led to the enslavement of mankind as a biological battery within the artificial construct know as The Matrix.
- ↑ The term "mechanical entity" is descriptive for the purposes of definition on The Matrix Wiki and is not canonical with the film series.