What role will computers play in the future? What happens when artificial intelligence gets to the point of actually allowing machines to give birth to original thoughts, or suppose artificial intelligence became identical or superior to human intelligence? While attempting to answer these thought-provoking questions deeper questions arise that are more pertinent in our lives such as what defines being human, or as Morpheous says, “What is…real?” The Matrix as well as the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, by Phillip K. Dick, attempt to answer these questions through different matrices. These matrices are implemented into stories to provoke thought and ask the question, what if?
The actual “matrix” described in the movie The Matrix provides the best example of a matrix. The “matrix” in the movie is a virtual reality implemented and created by machines to use human beings as a power supply. Their minds are trapped and they are unaware of the reality that they are simply batteries for the machines. Matrices are situations or surrounding circumstances within which something else originates, develops, or is contained. For example, in the explanation of the matrix above, human beings are in the matrix and their minds are contained within that matrix. However, containment is not the only type of matrix. Many different matrices exist in our lives. The educational system at California State University, Northridge can be considered a matrix. When students attend the university they start as one person, and through education and social experiences a new person is developed. Dick’s novel and The Matrix contain in their stories many mat...
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...oids through his human-like experience with them; Deckard sleeps with Rachel Rosen who is an android, and then loses empathy for androids once again. Neo and Deckard may be a part of the social order they so strongly oppose.
These matrices apparent in The Matrix and Dick’s novel are not much different then the matrices we encounter in our lives. Deckard and Neo represent you and me. Everyone is trapped in different matrices in their lives. By identifying those matrices and working through them we are able to grow as human beings. Every day we slowly recline into our chairs, the rods are jammed into the back of our skulls, and we plug into our reality. Within our own different matrices we struggle to define who we are or better yet, why we are here.
1. Dick, Phillip K. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. New York: Balantine Books, 1968.
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