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GoatLord

Two questions about "The Matrix"

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I was thinking about all the interesting ideas and themes in the original film (I don't really count the other two, I think they're pretty shitty to be honest), and I don't think either of these two questions have been explored significantly. I don't expect any definitive answers, so this is a pretty casual approach I'm taking here.

1) Is the Matrix supposed to be polygonal, voxel, point clouds, or what? Do you hit a brick wall, resolution-wise, if you use a high-powered telescope or microscope within the Matrix, or is there some procedural algorithm that only creates things when needed, in endless randomized variations? What happens if you attempt interstellar space travel?

2) Where is the Matrix physically located? Is there a central computer, or is it distributed computing? Are some of the machines dedicated specifically to keeping the code intact, or does the code just float freely in some kind of wireless cyberspace?

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The movie was made in 1999, so probably the universe was built around technology that existed then in spite of it being the future. Sorta like how in the Alien movie, its the far future but the ship is covered in CRT screens and WI-FI is non-existent, as it was an 80's movie.

So, if I had to guess, the world is polygonal and wireless may not exist. The simulation must have flaws somewhere otherwise there wouldn't be a small group of people who know its all a computer.

The matrix computer itself must be distributed worldwide, as presumably people worldwide are hooked up to it for whatever reason it was.

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Because the Matrix was beamed directly into your head I don't think it used 'graphics' in any sense that we know them, that's why they could only look at it in code form from the outside. If you wanted to see a brick wall, the Matrix would electrically stimulate your brain into 'seeing' a brick wall, exactly as you've always perceived one, right down to the smallest detail. At least that's how I gathered it. Same with going into outer space. Of course you wouldn't go anywhere, but because your perception of reality is internalized you would be convinced you were in deep space, seeing what you want/expect to see.

As far as storage, it was probably maintained within the consciousness of a bunch of super-powered AI like in Neuromancer, that essentially lived within their own creation, like the Oracle or the Architect. I dunno. At any rate the Wachowskis are certified nutjobs anyway, one-hit wonders who have amounted to nothing more than a string of disappointments.

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I always thought it would have made 100X more sense to have the matrix being run on human brains as a massively distributed computer cluster and handwave something about brains being superior to silicon chips for the machines' purposes, etc. It would have at least given a relatively logical reason to factory-farm humans for something they are exceptional for (our highly-developed brains) instead of something dumb and unremarkable (our metabolisms). Plus it would have explained away the matrix itself as a side effect of this mass-scale networking, because won't function properly unless the conscious mind has something to do, or whatever, instead of the machines inventing the matrix out of nowhere.

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Goatlord owns the matrix and we're all plugged into it right now. Life is fake. Life is a lie. Only Goatlord knows the truth. Only he can save us now.

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These are interesting questions, but I'm not sure if the creators behind the movies have really delved into those depths. Regardless, there really isn't enough blunts to hit to comprehend such notions.

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Use3D said:

Because the Matrix was beamed directly into your head I don't think it used 'graphics' in any sense that we know them, that's why they could only look at it in code form from the outside. If you wanted to see a brick wall, the Matrix would electrically stimulate your brain into 'seeing' a brick wall, exactly as you've always perceived one, right down to the smallest detail. At least that's how I gathered it. Same with going into outer space. Of course you wouldn't go anywhere, but because your perception of reality is internalized you would be convinced you were in deep space, seeing what you want/expect to see.


If you've got billions of humans born into machine bondage, they would have no conception of things like brick walls. Where exactly is that image, that idea, supposed to arise from?

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GoatLord said:

If you've got billions of humans born into machine bondage, they would have no conception of things like brick walls. Where exactly is that image, that idea, supposed to arise from?


Previous humans, perhaps? They're all connected to the same network.

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GoatLord said:

If you've got billions of humans born into machine bondage, they would have no conception of things like brick walls. Where exactly is that image, that idea, supposed to arise from?

Inkie said:

Previous humans, perhaps? They're all connected to the same network.


Yes obviously, as the Architect had stated, the current iteration of the Matrix was the height of human civilization, the 21st century, as culminated through human history up to that point. They didn't just pull it out of their asses, it had to be a reality the human brain would readily accept.

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Linguica said:

I always thought it would have made 100X more sense to have the matrix being run on human brains as a massively distributed computer cluster and handwave something about brains being superior to silicon chips for the machines' purposes, etc. It would have at least given a relatively logical reason to factory-farm humans for something they are exceptional for (our highly-developed brains) instead of something dumb and unremarkable (our metabolisms). Plus it would have explained away the matrix itself as a side effect of this mass-scale networking, because won't function properly unless the conscious mind has something to do, or whatever, instead of the machines inventing the matrix out of nowhere.

I'm pretty sure that's what the matrix was originally but somewhere along the lines it was decided that 'brains as hardware' was too hard for audiences to understand so they went with the battery thing.

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GoatLord said:

If you've got billions of humans born into machine bondage, they would have no conception of things like brick walls. Where exactly is that image, that idea, supposed to arise from?

I presume the Matrix mimics real life experiences from cradle to grave, so brick walls are something you'd probably learn about while growing up, most likely by running into one while learning to walk. ;)

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RUSH said:

Goatlord owns the matrix and we're all plugged into it right now. Life is fake. Life is a lie. Only Goatlord knows the truth. Only he can save us now.


So, do you hit the blue blunt or the red blunt?

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Linguica said:

I always thought it would have made 100X more sense to have the matrix being run on human brains as a massively distributed computer cluster and handwave something about brains being superior to silicon chips for the machines' purposes, etc. It would have at least given a relatively logical reason to factory-farm humans for something they are exceptional for (our highly-developed brains) instead of something dumb and unremarkable (our metabolisms). Plus it would have explained away the matrix itself as a side effect of this mass-scale networking, because won't function properly unless the conscious mind has something to do, or whatever, instead of the machines inventing the matrix out of nowhere.


I think that's a good overall alternative, but it still begs the question: Where does the data come from? I mean, our memories are fuzzy as hell. We recall tiny bits and pieces of life. We remember a few seconds here and there from any given day and there are probably hundreds if not thousands of days in our lives we don't recall at all because they were completely ordinary. I don't see how you could construct a stable, consistent, coherent reality using memories, if that's what you're getting at. Plus, the film takes place more than a century from now (I think), and by that point no living human would have had any memory to draw from. You'd have decades of people in those goo tubs who never opened their eyes and not much else.

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I read somewhere that apparently most of the people captured are still from 1999, and they still perceive it as 1999. Anyone new who is born could either not exist in real life or they somehow get the same memories from 1999 through the Cloud.

I've never really seen the movies.

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You can disregard the second movie if you wish but it does in fact show the Matrix's reality from the ground level up during its introductory scene, starting from an information level where everything is represented by bits, to a fractal-based simulation of what I presume must be quantum mechanics - since I suppose even machines cannot perfectly simulate true quantum mechanics due to its non-deterministic nature, fractals would make sense as a way to simulate the chaos at this level.

The DVD commentary track for the first movie indicates they had that idea already at that point - that the physics of the Matrix are far from perfect and that it stems from this "good enough" simulation and has small effects that propagate upward, leading to things like the almost perfectly symmetric destruction of the office wall by the helicopter, which are not like what should happen in the real world.

These flaws are what "red pills" are aware of, learn to manipulate, and take advantage of to do things that should be impossible.

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Quasar said:

The DVD commentary track for the first movie indicates they had that idea already at that point - that the physics of the Matrix are far from perfect and that it stems from this "good enough" simulation and has small effects that propagate upward, leading to things like the almost perfectly symmetric destruction of the office wall by the helicopter, which are not like what should happen in the real world.


There's an excellent segment in Animatrix that takes that idea to the extreme. Some latchkey kids stumble across an abandoned building that's rife with glitchy physics.

If anybody likes quirky animated sci-fi I'll save you some time. Download The Animatrix, watch "The Second Renaissance" part I and II (a history of the Matrix world), World Record (a stylish celebration of human willpower), Beyond (the glitchfest), A Detective Story (sci-fi/noir, directed by the Cowboy Bebop guy), and Matriculated (a story by the Aeon Flux dude in which robots are converted to join the human cause by making them explore a psychedelic dreamscape). The rest of the segments are dumb action but they're still alright.

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GoatLord said:

Plus, the film takes place more than a century from now (I think), and by that point no living human would have had any memory to draw from. You'd have decades of people in those goo tubs who never opened their eyes and not much else.

This was all lampshaded in the film with the tastee wheat scene.

I second watching the Animatrix. Some of those shorts were better than the sequels.

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Angry Saint said:

I still wonder what the Machines do all the day.

I mean, when they are not in the Matrix chasing rebels.

Standby mode.

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da matrix is a program of an stupid illusion


RUSH said:

Goatlord owns the matrix and we're all plugged into it right now. Life is fake. Life is a lie. Only Goatlord knows the truth. Only he can save us now.


Loool XD

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fraggle said:

This was all lampshaded in the film with the tastee wheat scene.

I second watching the Animatrix. Some of those shorts were better than the sequels.


To me the Animatrix far outweighs the sequels, which added a lot of goofy bullshit. There's some dark stuff in there that is even more disturbing now that AI and robotics are starting to finally get going.

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GoatLord said:

1) Is the Matrix supposed to be polygonal, voxel, point clouds, or what?

Note that this question might not even be relevant if you consider an indirect philosophy of perception. For example, when we dream we experience a false "reality" within our minds that is generated by our brain, but it seems kind of ridiculous to ask "how does our brain generate dreams - does it use polygons, voxels? point clouds?" (and from my own experience I've found that dreams can seem perfectly real). Obviously there isn't a graphics card in our head generating our dreams for us.

It's interesting to compare the hardware interface to the Matrix (the socket in the back of the neck) against similar "brain interfaces" from other sci-fi shows. For example compare to the implants that La Forge has in Star Trek: TNG, where the fact they're at the side of the head strongly implies that they're connected to the optic nerve. By comparison, there's no such implication with the Matrix jack-in sockets which appear to be hooked deep into the brain.

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Fair enough, but I think we can agree that it must be granular, that the math/programming used to describe the matrix is ultimately limited. That you would hit a brick wall if you try to examine it too closely. This (apparently) literally happens in reality if you believe the claims of Max Planck.

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I wanted to do more with this idea, but I don't think I will. So I present you with the Men Who Stare at Goatlord:

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