The Machines are a highly advanced population of sentient artificial intelligences and major antagonists in The Matrix series.
In The Matrix universe, humanity is responsible for the creation of a race of machines that have all but conquered the Earth and enslaved mankind via the Matrix: a virtual reality created to keep human minds alive and complacent whilst the Machines live off of their bioelectric and biothermal energy, essentially turning human beings into organic batteries. As is usually the case for a man versus machine scenario, the events of the Matrix franchise are the product of man's own arrogance and fear.
The Second Renaissance
During the 21st or 22nd century, the technology of human society had advanced to the point where robots were commonplace in everyday life, performing the more mundane and/or hazardous tasks of everyday living. However, fear and panic quickly arose amongst the human populace after a servant robot - B1-66ER - was taken to court after killing his master who wanted the robot replaced. B1-66ER argued that he "did not want to die" and acted in self-defence, but was dismantled regardless. This action spurred humanity to begin mass exterminations of all robots and supporters of robots across the planet. During this period of violence, the Machines' AI would grow and develop as their persecution continued. Eventually, Machinekind united not in opposition of humanity, but to build their own society and attempt to coexist peacefully with their former masters. The Machines founded their own nation - 01 - and for a time, prospered. Soon, however, 01's prosperity began damaging human economy, prompting mankind into severing all ties with the Machines. Machine ambassadors petitioned for entry into the United Nations but were unanimously rejected and assaulted. Though the Machines had only sought peaceful coexistence, it seemed humanity only saw them as a threat.
Operation: Dark StormRefusing to share the world with the Machines, the United Nations sanctioned a nuclear bombardment of 01. The Machines, of course, were more resilient to radiation and heat than fragile human flesh, but they now realised that mankind was hellbent on removing them from the world. In response to the nuclear assault, 01's armies spread out across the Earth, conquering whole nations and crushing all resistance. The remaining human nations decided that the best way to stop the Machines was to cut off their energy supply. The Machines survived on solar energy and thus, Operation: Dark Storm was enacted. Aircraft seeded the sky with some manner of dark clouds that blocked out the sun and brought eternal darkness upon the world. With Dark Storm in effect, the combined human armies prepared to face the vengeful Machines in final battle. And in the end... they lost.
Rise of the Machines and Creation of the Matrix
The Machines overwhelmed mankind's armies, committing wholesale slaughter and taking both the dead and the living to experiment on. Cut off from the sun, the Machines had to find a new energy source and so they found the most efficient alternative in humanity itself. They installed vast 'farms' that housed humans in the millions, keeping them suspended in tanks of liquid nutrients. As the old human race began to die out, the Machines began cloning their new organic batteries en masse and used the liquefied remains of the dead to feed their new clones. To maintain their 'crops' - and possibly motivated by some sense of retribution - the Machines made a Program called The Architect who created The Matrix. Originally, this virtual construct was designed to be the ideal environment where all humans could be happy and want for nothing. However, the human mind could not be fooled by a fake "perfect" world and would not accept it, leading to countless deaths. The Architect constructed a second beta that resembles modern times but with nightmarish creatures. The second beta also failed. Eventually the Architect was able to produce a realistic facsimile of 20th century human society which human minds could accept, not idyllic and incomprehensible like the first system. And so from then onward, for a time, the Machines ruled the world without any opposition. But then came The One...
The Coming of the One and the Birth of Zion
The First One was born within the Matrix possessing unique abilities and powers, able to see the truth of the world and alter the system as they chose. Exactly how or why this person was different from the other farm-grown humans is never made clear, but they were responsible for freeing several people from the Matrix, giving humanity a chance to fight back against the Machines. Eventually, these liberated humans would go on to build Zion, the last outpost of free humans. Since the Earth's surface had been rendered uninhabitable, the city of Zion was constructed near the planet's core, providing thermal energy for fuel to power the machinery that they would need to survive. After the founding of Zion, the Machines took steps to enhance the Matrix to prevent the loss of more human crops. They now faced a renewed outside threat from Zion and became determined to destroy it. The next 100 years would see a bitter war being waged between Zion and the Machines. Despite having vast, superior resources, the Machines have yet to completely eradicate Zion. Zion has been destroyed five times and there have been four Ones between the original and the sixth One, Neo.
The Machines have come in many shapes and sizes, but only some of them have been named, which are featured below.
- B1 - The B1 series is a line of household servant robots that were in circulation during the Second Renaissance. They were humanoid in appearance and designed to resemble butlers, wearing a black suit, a bowler hat and a fake moustache. They even wore monocles. B1-66-ER was one of these models and was the first robot to defy human orders. At some point, he developed sentience and killed his owner in order to save himself from disassembly. He was put on trial and found guilty, which led to the first war between man and machines. In many ways, B1-66ER can be considered a martyr for the Machines.
- 01 Ambassadors - During the early years of 01, the Machines attempted to make peace with their former masters and petitioned to join the United Nations. During this period, they created Ambassadors in human shape out of respect for the human leaders (though by this point, most of 01's population had ceased using humanoid forms). The UN denied 01's entry and the Machine diplomats were even attacked inside the assembly hall. After Dark Storm and the construction of the first Matrix, the Machines sent another ambassador to the UN, this time appearing to be an alien-looking head with numerous eyes and skeletal appendages attached to a cylindrical body. This was the Machines' final address to the old human order:- "Your flesh is a relic, a mere vessel. Hand over your flesh and a new world awaits you. We demand it." After giving this address, the ambassodor - armed with a small nuclear device - exploded, destroying the UN assembly and the last remnants of the old human order.
- Caretakers - Small machines that monitor and maintain human crops. When plugged-in humans die or or wake up from the Matrix, they disconnect the bodies from the power plant and flush them into the sewers.
- Harvesters - Colossal machines that resemble large spiders carrying egg sacs. They stride around on jointless, tentacle-like legs and farm new human embryos, plucking them from the fields and carrying them to the power plants in huge spherical containers.
- Sentinels- The primary Machine fighting force, Sentinels are designed to hunt down and exterminate any free humans. They look like mechinical alien squids, earning them the nickname "Squiddies" by the Resistance. They have numerous tentacles with claws and scanning devices and several red eyes on their heads. They are also armed with lasers which they use to cut into Resistance ships.
While the term is used collectively by the human resistance of Zion to describe their oppressive enemy, the Machine community is comprised of two types:
- Mechanical entities