David Madore's WebLog: Matrices and Monkeys

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Matrices and Monkeys

I watched Matrix again today, with a few friends, to refresh our memories before seeing the sequel tomorrow (I had only seen it once, shortly after its release, and that's a couple of years ago). I still liked it, and I find that the plot mostly holds water. One thing that disturbs me, however, is the extent of the agents' powers: at times they are nearly almighty (they are able, for instance, to seal Neo's mouth, or to create solid brick walls out of nowhere) in the Matrix, but at others they are much less powerful (why bother running after someone, for instance, when you can seal their limbs together, or create solid walls all around them?). I guess there are ways to argue around this coherently (as in: the physical modification trick will only work on weak minds who firmly believe that the Matrix is reality; and the brick walls require some preparatory work), but it would have deserved some kind of explanation. Also, I keep thinking that the “human battery” plot key is utterly ridiculous (oh, and the version I heard mentioned the energy production in “British thermal units” (BTU's), I wonder whether it's because it's a European version; but I'm certain that nobody ever uses British thermal units these days!; update 2003-05-22: I stand corrected on that point, apparently BTUs are indeed used by Americans); anyone with an incomplete ignorance of physics will immediately see that human beings would make terribly bad batteries—and even if such were not the case, one could always keep the humans in a coma of some kind rather than coming up with the ridiculous Matrix idea. Now it would have been so easy to come up with a genuine reason that could justify the Matrix: for example, human beings could be employed as parts of some kind of monstrous supercomputer to some sinister goal; then the humans' minds would be used, and the whole thing would make some kind of sense. But overall, I think that Matrix is a good movie.

In the course of conversation, I mentioned this 'blog, and someone surfed through it and noticed the previous note about the Infinite Monkey Protocol Suite. Was I ever asked, he demanded, whether I'm not a real human being but, in fact, an infinite number of monkeys at an infinite number of typewriters? For no human being could write such vast amounts of text as I do, he said. Hmmm, that's a thought, and maybe the previous note is a clue. Would I know it, I wonder, if I were no real human but the product of millions of monkeys randomly typing? Maybe not. Maybe it's like the Matrix, and I live in a fake world of (simian) imagination. Well, enough monkey business.

Oh, by the way, I have a pretty bad cold, and I'm dead tired, these days. I should get some sleep, now.

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