Re: Matrix Shmatrix

Sat, 10 Apr 1999 09:20:36 -0400

Jason Plog wrote:
> My protective rewriting of the Matrix changes the Coppertop battery
> concept into some kind of handy processor. Perhaps in Matrix II it
> will be revealled unto the Chosen Dude that the Matrix exists principally
> to keep all those brains sane so that they can run some kind of
> processing that is useful to the AI's below the surface. Not that the AI's
> couldn't do the processing, just that we're a conveniently available and
> capable of doing the work.

Spoilers below for anyone who hasn't read, but intends to read, the "Hyperion Cantos" (_Hyperion_, _The Fall of Hyperion_) by Dan Simmons.

I found the battery concept in 'The Matrix' strongly reminiscent of one of the plot elements in the Simmons books (similar enough to have been plausibly borrowed by the movie's screenwriters, though in a "dumbed-down" form more quickly and easily explainable to a movie audience).

Recall that in the Hyperion books, human beings (in an interstellar polity called the Hegemony) coexist with a community of AIs (called the TechnoCore). The humans make use of a technology (largely a "gift" of the AIs) of a network of teleportation doorways, called "farcasters", that permit world-spanning homes and shopping malls. It turns out that the AIs have largely migrated into the higher-dimensional
spaces created by this farcaster network (the "interstices of reality"), but that from this vantage point they (unknown to the humans) "borrow" or "steal" processor capacity from the humans by timesharing the living brains of the folks who use the farcaster network. A harmless, though unagreed-upon symbiosis -- except that one faction of the AI community (the Volatiles) is uncomfortable with the unpredictability and contrariness of uncontrolled humans, and so has devised a means (the cruciform parasite) of taming human beings by slowly depriving them of their minds, while keeping their brains alive as organic processors for the AIs to use.

Jim F.