Author Topic: In Defense of the Matrix  (Read 284 times)

Online Hydra009

In Defense of the Matrix
« on: July 18, 2018, 12:54:29 PM »
I was talking to a friend a few days ago about a certain big-budget HBO show with robots and we got to talking about the Matrix movies.  He talked about how horrific it was that humanity had essentially been imprisoned in a virtual world.

I said, "Well, there was an all-out war between humanity and the machines.   One side was probably going to annihilate the other.   At least this way, humans are still alive and relatively comfortable."  And thinking about it further, the machines were pretty magnanimous in not only sparing human life, but trying to create a virtual world that's as pleasant for people as possible.  The humans likely wouldn't have been nearly as merciful, almost certainly destroying as many machines as they possibly could.

We got to talking about other virtual realities.  I brought up the one from Soma.  In that video game, Earth is inhospitable for life but the human survivors have their minds copied into a virtual world - a paradise - running on a satellite.  The genius thing about this is that the outcome is ambiguous.  Technically, everyone died.  And technically, a lot of people survived.  It all depends on whether you regard the digital copies as people.  He was aghast at this, claiming that the world on the satellite is "not real" and therefore concluding that there were no survivors, just echos of the people that were.  I disagreed, viewing the satellite virtual world as no less real than reality on Earth.

I've been thinking a lot about this.  Why exactly should reality be viewed as superior to a simulation?  After all, our online personas and interaction on this forum constitutes a virtual world of sorts, yet I doubt anyone would disparage it as "not real".

And what's wrong with taking the blue pill?  Let's suppose that our reality is simply a simulation, would that matter?  Would you still wake up, shower, walk your dog, and go to work if you knew that to be the case?  What's so great about the real world that it should take precedence over other worlds?
« Last Edit: July 18, 2018, 01:05:01 PM by Hydra009 »

Offline Baruch

Re: In Defense of the Matrix
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2018, 01:08:40 PM »
Reality as a simulation is fine, until some klutz alien trips over the power cord ;-)
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Re: In Defense of the Matrix
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2018, 01:23:18 PM »
The Matrix Unplugged - might make a good movie.
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"The Republicans went from Abraham Lincoln to Sarah Palin to Donald Trump. No wonder they don't believe in evolution."
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Re: In Defense of the Matrix
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2018, 01:30:39 PM »
I just want to know why the machines didn't use cows instead of people.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Re: In Defense of the Matrix
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2018, 01:33:44 PM »
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I just want to know why the machines didn't use cows instead of people.

The cows didn't threaten to destroy the machines. The only reason machines decided to use humans as batteries was because humans blocked out the sun. The machines were previously solar powered.
"Oh, wearisome condition of humanity,
Born under one law, to another bound;
Vainly begot, and yet forbidden vanity,
Created sick, commanded to be sound."
--Fulke Greville

Re: In Defense of the Matrix
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2018, 01:49:34 PM »
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I was talking to a friend a few days ago about a certain big-budget HBO show with robots and we got to talking about the Matrix movies.  He talked about how horrific it was that humanity had essentially been imprisoned in a virtual world.

I said, "Well, there was an all-out war between humanity and the machines.   One side was probably going to annihilate the other.   At least this way, humans are still alive and relatively comfortable."  And thinking about it further, the machines were pretty magnanimous in not only sparing human life, but trying to create a virtual world that's as pleasant for people as possible.  The humans likely wouldn't have been nearly as merciful, almost certainly destroying as many machines as they possibly could.

We got to talking about other virtual realities.  I brought up the one from Soma.  In that video game, Earth is inhospitable for life but the human survivors have their minds copied into a virtual world - a paradise - running on a satellite.  The genius thing about this is that the outcome is ambiguous.  Technically, everyone died.  And technically, a lot of people survived.  It all depends on whether you regard the digital copies as people.  He was aghast at this, claiming that the world on the satellite is "not real" and therefore concluding that there were no survivors, just echos of the people that were.  I disagreed, viewing the satellite virtual world as no less real than reality on Earth.

I've been thinking a lot about this.  Why exactly should reality be viewed as superior to a simulation?  After all, our online personas and interaction on this forum constitutes a virtual world of sorts, yet I doubt anyone would disparage it as "not real".

And what's wrong with taking the blue pill?  Let's suppose that our reality is simply a simulation, would that matter?  Would you still wake up, shower, walk your dog, and go to work if you knew that to be the case?  What's so great about the real world that it should take precedence over other worlds?
From time to time, I've thought much along those lines.  Some consider the Brave New World as being almost a horror story.  The drugged workers, for example, are just that, drugged workers.  Yet they are content, if not happy, with their lot in life.  What is so wrong about that?  And no, I would not chose to become a drugged worker.  So, a little hypocrisy I guess.  But my real point is if your brain is put into a simulation and one that is so real you think don't realize you are not in one, how would that differ from what we say is reality now?  My reality is different than anybody else in the world--at least a little.  And I've created it--but it isn't perfect.  So, a perfect (or better) simulation might not be a bad way to go.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Online Hydra009

Re: In Defense of the Matrix
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2018, 02:05:45 PM »
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I just want to know why the machines didn't use cows instead of people.
The absurd battery idea was a result of executive meddling - the writers originally conceived of humans being used as a processors, which makes slightly more sense.  (The in-universe explanation for this discrepancy is that Morpheus was wrong in his explanation of reality to Neo)

Personally, I think the machines are unwilling to kill off humanity for some mysterious reason.  Perhaps a lingering attachment to their creators?  Or maybe a pragmatic need to keep humanity around to be used in some unforeseen future crisis?

Funnily enough, there's You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login based in the Matrix where some unknown alien race tries to destroy the planet and the machines require a human champion to pilot a prototype fighter-bomber in a last-ditch effort to neutralize the alien ship.  I know that sounds dumb, but imo the story was actually really interesting.  It lays the groundwork for imho the inevitable conclusion of the series - the full integration of man and machine into a new race - maximizing their respective strengths and minimizing their weaknesses.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2018, 02:12:41 PM by Hydra009 »

Re: In Defense of the Matrix
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2018, 02:31:15 PM »
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The cows didn't threaten to destroy the machines. The only reason machines decided to use humans as batteries was because humans blocked out the sun. The machines were previously solar powered.
Machines are stupid then.
We 'new atheists' have a reputation for being militant, but make no mistake  we didn't start this war. If you want to place blame put it on the the religious zealots who have been poisoning the minds of the  young for a long long time."
PZ Myers

Online Hydra009

Re: In Defense of the Matrix
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2018, 03:09:03 PM »
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The cows didn't threaten to destroy the machines. The only reason machines decided to use humans as batteries was because humans blocked out the sun. The machines were previously solar powered.
But there's plenty of non-solar power options.  Morpheus even mentions nuclear fusion.

The Architect states that the machines are not as reliant on humans as one might be led to believe - there are lower power thresholds that they would find acceptable in exchange for ridding themselves of the Matrix redpills.

The only other explanation (other than the ones that you and I have brought up) is that the machines are vindictive, punishing humanity by keeping them as coppertop slaves.  But imo, that's not in their character.  For the most part, they seem more inquisitive and dispassionate than malicious.  The Architect mentions that the Mother of the Matrix, the Oracle, was created "to investigate certain aspects of the human psyche".  Evidently, a lot of effort was put into understanding the human mind.  And it's doubtful they went through all that trouble simply to keep crops from failing.

Offline Baruch

Re: In Defense of the Matrix
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2018, 07:26:24 PM »
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I just want to know why the machines didn't use cows instead of people.

They did ... you are in a Chickfila VR ...

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Cows are the uber-mammal.
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