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Welcome to the Matrix, a Software-Defined Apocalypse

Most movies are inspired by a certain novel. “The Matrix” is a gorgeous visual enterprise mixing cyberpunk with Japanese anime and the martial arts themes pioneered by Hong-Kong studios. Still, behind the explosions and flashing limbs it is quite easy to recognize concepts and personalities from the Old and New Testaments.

The Merovingian traffics information and speaks voice of reason with a French accent. He is a ruler of the underworld, Satan in flesh and bits. He strongly dislikes the Oracle, he never mentions the Architect, and I have not noticed him having any conflict with the Agents. Agent Smith is probably Archangel Gabriel who becomes upset with human insolence (by the way, in his most important monologue he sounds like Greta Thurnberg going infernal). Morpheus is John the Baptist, while Neo is … you know who. Cypher is Judas, and his last name in The Matrix is yet another occasional hint at the producers’ political affiliations.

The key “business reason” for the Matrix to exist is the need of the AI “Overmind” to power itself with electricity generated by human nano-reactors. The humans’ consciousness is coupled with implanted software, converting and feeding emotions (anger, fear, happiness) back to the the reactor’s chemical processes, while providing the humans with the false sense of living a real life.

The ultimate mission statement of the Matrix is to maintain a stable power supply for the Overmind. The root cause of all problems the Matrix experiences is that humans are inherently unstable.

From the perspective of the 2022 technology landscape, every human reactor’s hardware is running a container. Each such container is based on a primal “homo sapiens” container supplemented with unique functional layers defined by racial, gender, physical, IQ and character traits. Every human container is connected to a kind of heartbeat service. Human containers’ integrated data feed is being continuously (though not always successfully) monitored by agents. Whenever necessary, an agent can upload himself into a human right through that heartbeat service, replacing the regular container to one with elevated privileges, super strength, etc.

The Mother Nature in the Matrix is a service mesh, with wind, gravity etc. being micro-services. Thus, laws of physics can be bent, and various CNAP-styled doors are delivering different results depending on the supplied access credentials.

The Architect is a highest-level admin service, responsible for continuously remodeling the system to adapt it to the latest challenges. Oracle is a RANDOM() function, and Neo is nothing but a disaster as a service. Finally, we have a boot module at the Machine City, which – funny enough – ends up as the proverbial God creating a rock he cannot lift himself.

The City of Zion, as a matter of fact, is just a collection of humans living in an underground zoo, heroically fighting for their freedom, and not knowing they are merely a pressure valve component of the system.

The Matrix run-time environment operates in software development cycles. At each cycle Zion is created, and starts accumulating most troublesome human minds, who go on to fight the machines. Every once in a while Neo is unleashed. He finds vulnerabilities and causes disruptions. At the end of each cycle, all that data is collected and analyzed, code is refactored, Zion is destroyed, and the Matrix is reloaded.

Pay attention at the admin systems hierarchy: the Merovingian, the Oracle and the Architect are obviously aware of the cycles, while the Agents are not.

During the cycle presented in the first three parts of The Matrix franchise, the system malfunctions. The admin systems go completely astray, risking stability of the Matrix. The Oracle is not much better than Smith: she would release the humans, defeating the very business purpose of the Matrix, while Smith would achieve the same result by simply killing them all. Merovingian might actually have a point in wanting to downsize the Oracle significantly.

Neo having powers outside of the Matrix is a huge security and stability flaw. It also raises the question of whether the Matrix exists as a sub-matrix inside yet another Matrix. I would expect the Architect to do better next time – or perhaps he too requires a little refactoring himself.

Finally, allow me a little heresy: the entire Matrix paradigm is highly unpractical. If the self-aware Overmind is so smart, simply building a nuclear power plant is a much more stable solution for generating electricity – one that would eliminate the need for the sadistic software-intensive universe. It is one thing to assume that services would be crashing from time to time; and another to create a system that is in a permanent state of war with itself. Unless, indeed, the Matrix has no utility at all, and this is yet another way of God playing pebbles.

While I cannot speak for God, I can speak for Senticore.

When we are tasked with designing a software, we are armed with Capabilities Based Planning methodology and we create systems that make sense from the business perspective, without contradictions. In our Matrices, all components and services are friends and partners, working for the benefit of the customer. Try us, and you will sleep well, safe from Neo, Morpheus and others.