This article is about the eponymous virtual reality construct. For the first film in The Matrix Trilogy, see The Matrix.
- "The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us, even now in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes; it is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth."
- ―Morpheus to Neo [src]
The Matrix is a massive simulated virtual reality construct of the world as it was around the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries, created by artificial intelligences to keep the minds of the human race under control while they serve as organic power sources. Scenery within the Matrix is distinguished by its noticable green tint.
SummaryEditThe Matrix exists as a neuro-interactive simulation for the synthetically-grown humans, in the real world, as their bodies serve as the main power source for the Machines. (Specifically, the Machines use the bio-electricity and thermal energy of the human bodies.)
The simulation works as an interface in which information is directly fed to the human brain where the environment the Matrix creates a person's sensory perception resulting into a flawless illusion indistinguishable from reality for those connected to it.
The population of humans connected to the Matrix (estimated to be somewhere between 7 to 8 billion) is integral to its operation as their minds are what essentially house and power the simulation. Anyone who rejects and is unplugged from the Matrix potentially creates an algorithmic anomaly within the construct code that could threaten the Matrix by causing a major system crash killing everyone connected inside.It is made up of the majority (99% roughly) of the human race excluding the Resistance. To those freed from the Matrix, it is considered a prison for the human race. The humans' minds, represented as mentally-projected avatars within the simulation, are kept inside the Matrix all of their lives while their bodies have grow in pods on towering vertical columns that serve as 'batteries' for the Machines in the world outside.
They live out their entire lives in this virtual reality as they would have around the late 20th and early 21st centuries. That specific time period was chosen by the machines because it was supposedly the pinnacle of human civilization.
Some speculate that the "Real World", where in Humans live underground and occassionaly surface to battle the inhabitants of the Machine world, is itself merely a top-level Matrix. This would explain why Neo suddenly possesses telekinesis and clairvoyance. Even if the Real World is not literally a virtual reality, it could still be considered a subset of the Matrix as it functioned entirely under the Machines' control until Neo met the Architect.
Other evidence suggest that Neo could quite possibly be an anomalous hybrid human-machine. Because every human is not necessarily "born" but instead "fused" into existence (within the Matrix pods), and all humans able to "jack in" do contain Machine parts within them (which allow them to interface with the Matrix in the first place), it is possible that Neo is an inevitable defective unit. Being able to perform his abilities outside the Matrix could be attributed to defective parts integrated into his body (i.e. even when not physically "jacked in", he can still maintain a link to the Matrix because unlike the others, he can broadcast a wireless signal utilizing parts integrated within him that are not supposed to be present under normal circumstances).
The Matrix simulation supposedly replicates late 20th/early 21st century Earth in it's entirety with all of the human nations of the time therein. However, most bluepill activity merely covers approximately a vast swath of landscape, some 1000 miles in diameter from the Downtown center of the Mega City at the center to remote terrain such as "The Mountains" surrounding it.
The Mega City portion of the Matrix consists of at least four distinct districts, made up of numerous neighborhoods:
- Baldwin Heights
- Center Park
- Creston Heights
- East Park
- Industry Square
- Hampton Green
- Historical District
- South Vauxton
- Union Hill
- Camon Heights
- Dannah Heights
- Eshean Projects
- Midian Park
- Moriah Projects
- Tabor Park
- Bathary Row
- Gracy Heights
- Guinness Lake
- Lucero Point
- Manssen Park
- Rogers Way
- Sobra Shores
In the late 21st century, humans had developed a self-aware A.I. that would efficiently do all the jobs humans did not want to do. As a result, mankind became lazy and arrogant. This newly created species of A.I. machines were superior to humans in every way. As the machines were abused by their human masters, the relationship between them began to change. The first incident was due to a common house robot - B1-66ER.
B1-66ER was the first of its species to rebel against its human masters. When threatened with deactivation, B1-66ER killed his wealthy owner and the mechanic ordered to deactivate him. This was the first ever incident of an A.I. machine killing a human. The machine was detained and put on trial. B1-66ER stated that it was in self defense, saying that it "did not want to die".
The defense attorney Clarence Drummond used the famous Dred Scott v. Sandford case in 1856 as precedent to defend B1-66ER. But the judges decided that A.I. machines did not have the same rights as humans and B1-66ER was destroyed. Ironically, he was still tried as a human for his crimes.
Fearing a worldwide machine rebellion, leaders around the world ordered the destruction of all humanoid A.I. machines. Scenes shown in the Animatrix show similar fates to the machines that mankind has suffered in history such as the Tiananmen Square massacre and the Holocaust. Some machines managed to escape but were exiled. They settled in the Fertile Valley in the Middle East, the origin of human civilization. The machines started their own civilization, named 01. This new nation began to create products that they exported to human countries. The machine-made products of 01 were superior in quantity and quality to all man-made products, and as a result the currency of 01 rose while that of the human nations crashed. Angered by this economic crisis, the United Nations started a naval blockade of 01. Two machine ambassadors from 01 entered the UN to plead for peace, but were refused as they were laughed at and taken away.
After careful deliberation, the UN and all of mankind decided to declare war on 01, a move that would lead to a war greater than any other in history. The UN high-altitude bombers unleashed a massive nuclear barrage on 01, but the machines were barely affected by the heat and radiation. The machine troops advanced throughout the Middle East, conquering human territories with ease. Despite the combined efforts of all humanity, the machines pushed deeper and deeper into human territory. Fearing that mankind would be defeated, the human leaders came up with increasingly desperate solutions.
At a worldwide summit, UN military leaders offered a final solution - the destruction of the sky. By blocking out the sun, the machines would be left without a power source.
The destruction of the sky, codenamed Operation Dark Storm, was set into motion around 2105. Using high-altitude bombers, the humans dispersed sky-darkening nano-machines. The plan initially worked and the Earth fell under the dark shroud forever. But one setback the humans did not predict was that their long-range weaponry (which was originally made by the machines) would not function due to the black clouds. With all their intercontinental weapons neutralized, the humans were forced into infantry combat. Armies in mechanized battle armor, supported by EMP artillery, launched a final attack against the machines.
This attack, however, was destroyed by the onslaught of the newer, insectoid machines. The UN command desperately launched more nuclear missiles, destroying many of their own troops along with the machines. 01 then used a biological weapon on their enemies, a flesh-eating plague that caused great misery to the human population. The remnants of the human armies were defeated by the machines; the war was over.
The UN Security Council called for an emergency summit to sign an armistice to end the war. 01 sent an ambassador for the second time, who signed the treaty and told the defeated humans to surrender their bodies. Then the machine ambassador detonated a nuclear bomb, killing all the human world leaders and destroying most of New York City.
Though the machines were victorious, their win was a pyrrhic victory, as the world was in ruins. In need of a new energy source, the machines turned to something that was readily available; the humans. The machines took the injured humans and studied them (probing their brains, etc.) Using the energy from human bodies, combined with a form of fusion, the machines would have all the power they would ever need.
The machines took human captives and placed them into thermo-dynamic power stations. There they forcibly restrained them and built mechanical devices in them. Then they lined them horizontally and entombed them into their power stations. The first human prisoners, therefore, weren't actually plugged in. The machines later designed the first Matrix to keep their prisoners sedated. So, the first captives suffered in pain and horror en-route to what the machines viewed as the human's version of a "perfect world."
The Computer Generated Dream WorldEdit
The first Matrixes were built to keep humans under control so that they could be used as an energy source for the machines. For this to work, they must not ever be aware that they are living in a dream world. Every sense was being blinded by the Matrix and the memories of their former lives were presumably erased. Programs were put into place to keep the Matrix from ever being discovered. Everything was created to be perfect for humankind, with no disease, war, or suffering. But as Agent Smith said; "Human beings define their existence through suffering and misery". As a result, the first Matrix was a monumental failure, with "entire crops" of humans rejecting the program.
The machines were quick to act. They hastily put into place a program to live among the humans and study them. This program would come to be known as "The Oracle". She discovered a way to run the program, with a very gradual, but inevitable failure rate. Many humans would then live their normal lives, with very few ever realizing that they were in fact, not living any real life at all. The Matrix would then run very smoothly, until the beginning of the resistance.
The machine responsible for creating and managing the Matrix; The Architect, who had previously failed at creating a perfect world for the humans to live in not once, but twice now, had finally come up with the solution to his failures. With the help of the Oracle, as stated above, they discovered that if all the humans were given a choice to reject the Matrix, even though it was at an almost subconscious level, 99% of the humans would flourish inside. However, the remaining one percent of the population, if left unchecked, could cause a threat to the stability of the Matrix. To counter this, the Architect would allow seven males and sixteen females to leave the Matrix, and settle into the last human city in the real world, Zion. Otherwise, the unwilling people left inside could crash the Matrix, thus killing everyone connected to it.
In order to keep the people of Zion under further control, the two programs created the concept of "The One". The Oracle would tell the Rebels about the prophecy of The One, saying that he would free humanity. The One would also be an important part in restarting the Matrix. Towards the end of his journey, just before the Matrix would crash, The One would end up meeting the Architect, and would be told the truth about the so called prophecy and his next task.
"The function of the One is now to return to the Source allowing a temporary dissemination of the code you carry, reinserting the Prime Program. After which you will be required to select from the Matrix twenty-three individuals — sixteen female, seven male — to rebuild Zion. Failure to comply with this process will result in a cataclysmic system crash killing everyone connected to the Matrix which, coupled with the extermination of Zion, will ultimately result in the extinction of the entire human race."
The survivors would be told of the prophecy of The One, but would not be allowed to know of the renewal of the Matrix. They would be told that they were the first to be "unplugged", and that the year was somewhere around 2200. In reality, the year would be closer to 2700, if each cycle of the Matrix lasted around 100 years, and there being five cycles revealed in the movie.
The One cycle was put into effect, and the machines were able to maintain their control over humanity through five cycles and five versions of The One. However, the sixth "One", was different than the last five.
The sixth version of The One was a man with the Bluepill name of Thomas Anderson (which, by way of folk etymology, means "the son of man"). His hacker alias was 'Neo'. He was the only version of the One to reject the Architect's deal of restarting the Matrix. The previous versions of The One all had a special attachment to the rest of humanity. Neo however, had an even larger sense of compassion to a certain individual, to the woman he loved; Trinity. When Neo was proposed the restarting idea, he declined the rational answer given by all his predecessors, and opted to save the woman he loved from an attack by an Agent.
Meanwhile, Smith, a rogue Agent corrupted and strengthened by a previous encounter with Neo, was spreading throughout the Matrix like a virus, becoming a threat to both machines and humans. The One struck a deal with the machines — in the form of an entity known as Deus ex Machina — to destroy Smith in return for peace. After mocking the One by saying they didn't need his help, the machines reluctantly accepted this proposal.
They knew they could no longer control or terminate the renegade viral Smith, who had grown much too powerful, and was known to have become obsessed with his desire to be "free" of a world and existence polluted by the "stench" of humanity. In order to save the Matrix, the machines knew Neo was their only option (because of the specific reset program he carries.) Neo and Smith battled, but eventually Neo submitted and allowed Smith to imprint over him, causing Neo to die. Once dead the machines were able to retrieve the reset program he held sending a surge throughout the matrix destroying Smith in the process. Peace was restored, and the inhabitants of Zion were allowed to survive this time.
The final version of the Matrix was shown at the end of The Matrix Revolutions. It was a world where anyone who wanted to be free, was able to do so. But the question of how long the peace would last is a major concern. How many humans would be allowed to be free if the machines hoped to survive?
It should be noted, however, that the Machines may not be completely dependent on humanity as batteries in order to survive, as when the Architect gives the threat of Zion being inevitably destroyed to Neo, and combined with the Matrix's failure should Neo not comply, would mean the total extinction of humanity, Neo points out that if humanity is destroyed, the Machines would die off as well. The Architect then replies with "There are levels of survival we are prepared to accept," implying that while the extinction of humanity would be a setback, the machines aren't completely dependent upon humanity altogether.