Re: Matrix Shmatrix

Scott Badger (
Sat, 10 Apr 1999 09:41:14 -0500

I had a great time at this film. Besides being great eye-candy, there were some exciting ideas in it . But I love to punch holes as much as the next guy so . . .

Robin Hanson wrote:

> On the negative side, humans cloud the skys to take solar energy
> away from AIs, who then grow humans as energy sources, putting
> them in a virtual reality to distract them from being eaten?!

I have to agree that the basic idea of using human bodies as energy sources is a real stretch. Why not other animals or geothermal or nuclear or lots of other sources.

And even if there was something unique about our efficacy as an energy source, why go to the trouble of creating and maintaining this elaborate simulation when they could simply keep the humans in a comatose and unconscious state preventing the need for a Matrix program.

> Special humans born with an ability to hack the AI's operating
> system better than the AIs?! AIs who have to run and chase
> things in their virtual reality rather than just deleting the
> relevant files?! AIs too stupid to out guess spunky humans
> or to find the hidden human "city" on an Earth run by AIs?
> A fight for human freedom lead by an all-knowing "oracle" who
> gives orders and explains little? Pleeaase.
> An engrossing cartoon perhaps, but hardly a fruitful basis
> for thinking about the future. Similar but better movies
> were Dark City and Total Recall.

One idea that was generated in the movie made me wince a little. When Morpheus was captured the agent was doing that thing that the bad guy always does before he kills the good guy...tells all. He told Morpheus that the original simulation was a paradise for humans, but it didn't work out because there's something about human nature that prevents us from adapting to such an environment. It would seem that we are wired for misery. Very non-transhumanistic I must say. And wouldn't that idea suggest that humans would not be able to adapt to heaven if it existed?

I also didn't particularly care for the mystical component to what should have remained a hard sci-fi yarn. The "one" who had lived before and was prophesied to return, i.e. the savior meme.

Still think I'll see it again. :^)