Lecture and the Matrix Friday 1.27

The Matrix Reloaded

Image via Wikipedia

I will post later some slides that will explain in more detail some of the key terms from the text that we went over in class today. I was happy with the challenge that you went through making familiar connections with concepts about which you have less familiarity.

You can use analogies to relate new information with existing knowledge. This ability — although you struggled a bit with it today — is crucial to continue thinking about and practicing, especially in preparation for your final group presentations.

Did You Know?

What we discussed in class today about routers and switches, WAN and LAN, fiber optic cables and Ethernet all amounts to one thing:

The way we create, exchange, and consume information is evolving…quickly.

The Internet, which comprises the WWW, e-mail, instant messenger, VOIP, peer-to-peer, and many other services, represents our Information R/Evolution. Much like the Industrial Revolution changed the human experience from an agrarian (agriculture) society to one of industrial manufacturing, the Information Revolution has move us from an industrialized society — where production consisted of producing things — to one based on producing ideas. 

And through the exchange of ideas, we become intimately connected with the technologies that help make this happen. They become an extension of us — our identity, our culture…our humanity.


The networks — the machines — that you started reading about in Chapter 3 all exist largely invisible to us, as in the engineering level of the underground city of Zion in the Matrix.

Engineering level from The Matrix Reloaded (2003) (click to view video)

  • Councillor Harmann: Down here, sometimes I think about all those people still plugged into the Matrix and when I look at these machines I… I can’t help thinking that in a way… we are plugged into them.
  • Neo: But we control these machines; they don’t control us.
  • Councillor Harmann: Of course not. How could they? The idea is pure nonsense. But… it does make one wonder… just… what is control?
  • Neo: If we wanted, we could shut these machines down.
  • Councillor Harmann: Of course! That’s it! You hit it! That’s control, isn’t it? If we wanted we could smash them to bits! Although, if we did, we’d have to consider what would happen to our lights, our heat, our air…
  • Neo: So we need machines and they need us, is that your point, Councilor?

What do you think? Is the machine us/ing us?


24 Responses to Lecture and the Matrix Friday 1.27

  1. James Blinco says:

    I think this argument assumes that machines as a whole possess some sort of collective intelligence. For discussion’s sake, let’s assume that they do. I would think of our relationship more as a give and take. Humans certainly do rely on machines on a regular basis. This site is hosted by a machine and I am using a machine to even reply. People will use machines to read it. We cannot forget that machines need us as well. If no one wanted to read this, what would be the point of this service? Machines and humans need each other and I do not see the paradigm shifting in the near future.

  2. tange001 says:

    Oh we’re totally dependent on machines. I got in an argument with a 45 year old ‘teacher’ about knowing how to do things and she was saying you could just look up the tutorial to anything online. God forbid something happen to the internet and we all need to know how to do basic things like make floatation devices or make water clean- that lady will be completely screwed.

  3. rhromm says:

    Today with the rapid exchange of information the emphasis on memorization is not as important. Understanding how to use the information is the key to success in todays workplace. Information can be quickly found via the vast resources linked over the internet that are continually growing.

  4. I completely agree with this. We are so dependent on machines now that I honestly believe if something happened and all of our computers and phones got shut down. There would be millions of people that wouldn’t know how to do anything. Take me for example, I still don’t know how to tie a tie. I look up a video of how to do it on the “internet”, and boom, I’m done. Society is evolving as we know it. These “machines” are now an everyday part of our life.

  5. I believe that it is a give and take relationship. People are plugged into technology all that time and use it to complete things a lot faster or to organize things better. We are dependent on technology nowadays, but we can do things without depending on technology as well. Technology is only going to advance and continue to grow as well as our relationship with technology.

  6. I believe we are depend on machines because we choose to do so. I think if the internet went dowbn people would shell shocked for a while but we have enough smart people to figure out how to get along with out it because we would be forced to do so. Until we are forced to be independent from machines we will not because it makes life easier but we are still capable to get along without machines if needed because we have done without for hundreds of years.

  7. I think we a very dependent upon machines. We depend on machine so much that if they were taken away from us we wouldn’t know how to survive. Machines have been created to make human life easier, but humans have formed a dependency upon them. However I think machines need us to operate too. Humans have the ability to turn them on and off and we have to take care of the machines in order for them to operate properly.

  8. I think that the machine uses us because a lot of people are inadequate without computers, etc. People are more and more dependent on technology to do their thinking for them. With tutorials, actual answers to problems, and online learning forums who needs to do their own thinking when its at your fingertips? Like I know I am guilty of doing those things but in retrospect I am not learning anything.

  9. Emily Burke says:

    I believe a lot of people now-a-days are very dependent on technology. However, I don’t think the machine is “using” us. People have complete control over what they post on the internet, what sites they visit, and what they take from what they see. Machines also need us to maintain them, and if it weren’t for humans, these machines would have never been created in the first place. If these machines all went down at once, I believe that we, as a society, could still go on and live normal lives.

  10. RosalynMuniz says:

    The machines seem to use us by being created by us, becoming more intelligent than us, and take our jobs or replace human labor. Also, we all are so dependent on them. That gives them power. So yes I think it is possible for machines to gain so much power and control that human beings would have no choice but to allow them to take over. It may be a far fetched idea today, but another 50 years from now, I don’t think we would have more proof than we need. I have no doubt. China has already accomplished a little robot that can think. We are getting closer. Yikes!

  11. robdeutsch says:

    I think that we do depend on technology and will depend on more technology as it advances. However, I don’t think there will be a time where computers don’t need us or control there selves. I also think most humans will be oblivious to how technology works and it will continue that way. As long as there is other people around to fix our problems than people wont feel like they have to waste there time trying to figure out how technology works.

    • “As long as there is other people around to fix our problems”

      Good point. This theme is explored in science fiction, such as the ‘Beneath the Surface’ episode from Stargate:


  12. I completely agree with this. We as a society are too dependent on technology. With the way GPS is now most people would not know how to read a map. This post reminded me of the latest Die Hard movie the whole idea of a “fire sale” which shut down the whole country. While technology is definitely something that we need I feel that we can not become completely dependent upon technology.

    • I’m impressed that you were able to bring in the movie, Die Hard to help explain your comment!

  13. acydic says:

    I will be writing a blog today with the title “My Weekend Was Hell”… It will demonstrate how I used technology to get through the weekend. However, the reason I was not in class on Friday was dealing with the campus-wide phone system being down and trying to get those systems repaired. We have become as a society dependent on the machines, and we’re not going back.

  14. Taylor D'Etcheverry says:

    I just posted a status on Facebook last night about how I wouldn’t know what to do without Google. Yesterday, I was talking to my uncle about how I couldn’t fathom the idea of going through college without the internet. While technology makes things exponentially easier for us, humans, to get through day to day life, because it makes various tasks so easy, we have become almost completely dependent on it. Is it a good or bad thing? I can’t answer that.

  15. As someone who grew up in America, I grew up with technology. Many people are similar to me, we grew up with indoor plumbing, electricity, light bulbs, computers, and phones. While we can say that we won’t use technology or that we want to try and free ourselves from technology, there is almost always some object of technology in our lives. Like it was said in Matrix Reloaded, we create technology and moderate it, although now that we have lived with all these different forms of technology, it is very hard, almost impossible, to remove ourselves from it.

  16. Sarah Laurie says:

    I think that more people rely on machines than they would like to think. However people can manipulate computers to do want they want them to do and learn how they function. The more complicated the machines become the less people will care about how they work.

  17. Shina Carter says:

    The conversation between Neo and Harmann was very interesting. I never thought about machines that way. I agreed with Neo when he said machines don’t control us that they could shut them down if they wanted to. However, Harmann also open my eyes when he said that they would have to consider what would happen to the lights, heat, etc. I believe if people really wanted to cut machines out of their life they would really need to put in a lot of work to find a way to do the things that machines can do. However, machines help us out a lot! We pretty much don’t have to worry about anything a machine can take care of, giving us a piece of mind. I rely on technology everyday just about every second of my life!! =) I don’t know what I would do if it was to just go away. So I agree with the statement that we need machines and machines need us!!

  18. I think the question of whether our technology, or “machines”, use us is quite ridiculous because it seems to give machines sentience. Technology is a tool, though we seem to portray it as an entity because the nearly godly reverence we grant it. We use technology to simplify and ease our lifestyles, often relegating tasks that we don’t have time to do entirely by ourselves or maybe don’t understand to its complex processes. The technology we use everyday controls us in the way that nearly every one of us is utterly dependent on the luxuries we gain through the use of our technologies. However, there are places in the world that have minimal technology, and that bares that many of the technologies we frequently use are luxuries. Though we may rather have their aid in our lives, they are no means a necessity. So in my eyes, we use technology, and it does not “use” us.

    • “Technology is a tool, though we seem to portray it as an entity because the nearly godly reverence we grant it. ”

      Well said.

  19. I believe that we are very dependent on machines and technology. We as a society are too comfortable with our ways of life and could never depart with technology. To shut down the machines would bring us back to the stone age.

  20. Sali says:

    Our generation has become very reliant on technology. Some of us including me can’t imagine ourselves without some type of technology. It almost does everything for us. I believe that we are using less and less of our own intellect because of these machines. Technology makes everyday life easier.

  21. Wow, these are all great reflections. Control is certainly a point of concern – do we have control, or jus think we do? By making our machines so complex and vital to our existence did we give up some sense of our independence from the machines?

    I really enjoyed reading all your thoughts. Thanks!

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