The Matrix movies have now been around long enough to qualify as “classics,” whether you liked the sequels or not. As such, there are many of us “enthusiasts” that have sat and watched them enough times to notice that while Larry and Andy Wachowski may know a thing or two about framing Jesus as a Kung-Fu master who likes 9 millimeters, they apparently knew shit about computers when they wrote the ground-breaking series. Here is a list of technologies that existed when the Matrix movies were written and that my almost 10 years of experience in IT tells me would have buttoned up the series in no time.

Hardened Electronics

I am going to start off by stepping out of the Matrix world for a second to explore something equally as iconic; James Bond. I am going to guess that if you have not been living off your own excrement for the past 20 years, you have at least a passing knowledge of the movie Goldeneye.  If you do, you might remember part of the plot involved a pre-"Jean Grey" Famke Jansen stealing a helicopter using her thighs. The whole reason she and the other villains took it was because it was “hardened”, meaning it was built with electronics that could shrug off the radiation ionization caused by a sudden pulse of electromagnetism… otherwise known as an “EMP”, the human resistance’s sole weapon against the machines in the real world. I mention this because Goldeneye came out years before the first Matrix movie, and the ideas behind that whole thing have been around since the Cold War was actually a thing, meaning that the machines would probably A) have a working knowledge of hardening and B) would probably work that shit into every last piece of hardware they built. Think about it, you have access to technology that makes you essentially impervious to your enemy, why not use it?

Packet Sniffers

For anyone who has ever set up a network, home or otherwise, we all know security is a big deal. Even if you just know that “they” can sneak around your network if you don’t secure it, you are at least somewhat aware of the fact that there are programs out there that let people look at information passing from computer to computer and analyze it. Given the right kind of thinking and hardware, they can pull your personal information right out of thin air, right? Like maybe a giant godamn hovercraft broadcasting information into your network? The basic idea is that the machines likely could have looked at the data passing between these ships and their own network to find out who is poking around in their system and kill them. Or, you know, use a freaking firewall.


Why even let Morpheus and his buddies into the Matrix at all? That technology has existed since the late 80s, so there is no reason at all to not include it in a presumably global network of people you are trying to control. Firewalls can be selective with what they let through or not, so just block off everything that doesn’t come from a robot. Or better still, make sure the machines use one network and just don’t set up any wireless hotspots for the Matrix. There is a reason why hacking wasn’t a problem in 1982, despite what War Games might have suggested; if the computer has no connection to the internet, it can’t be accessed by it. There is no reason why the robots wandering the earth could not use one network that was completely separate from the matrix entirely. That would have left Lawrence Fishburne and Jada Pinkett sitting around looking stupidly at one another, not doing Kung-Fu.

Anti-Virus Software (Or something like it)

So let’s just assume that the human resistance is super clever and they have found a way to hack into a network with a firewall; who knows, maybe they inserted virus software at some point or a Trojan horse that let them just walk in. What do most people these days do when they discover something like this has happened? Okay, aside from calling the guy they know who works in IT; what does he do? That’s right, he does a virus scan which targets things like that and removes them. So why not dig into the Norton archives and write some anti-Neo software? Sure, the Agents were basically anti-malware, but they really sucked at the job. If real computer viruses could be stopped by punches to the face, the hackers would have written anti-punch-in-the-face software and punch-back software. How about just identifying the code that sets off the warning bells and delete it? Presumably when they are in the Matrix, the people with the spikes in their skulls exist at least somewhat on the machine’s hardware. Now, the agents can’t take over people who have been unplugged. In the computer world, that means there is an obvious night and day difference between them, which means they should be easy for software to identify; not punchy kicky video game boss type software, the boring kind that no one ever sees. Hell, if they were clever enough, the machines could not only delete the intruders, but infect them back with programs that make them just shit everywhere and give their cohorts the bird.


Ever since the early 90s when Diablo was all the rage, there have been programs called “trainers” that let you manipulate games, doing things like giving yourself godlike abilities and weapons that make you invulnerable. Now, clearly this exists in the world of The Matrix, because that is essentially what Morpheus had done with Neo, Trinity, Cypher (okay, not Cypher, all he was good at was lying and f*cking up.) They gave themselves Super Jump©, Super Punch® and Two Fisted Gunnery™. So the Matrix apparently did the same thing… but why? Programmers have to give the ability to get hurt to game bosses and henchmen. Have you ever played a game in god mode? That is basically a back door that the programmer wrote that turns off functionality. By default, they can’t be killed, the game designers had to add the ability for them to die, and so why in the hell did the machines ever do that with the Agents? In my Matrix, the Agents would have miniguns in their fingers and they would not take damage, because I am an asshole, mostly, but also because I know good programming and good security.

Bandwidth Throttling

Okay, let’s assume the machines, for whatever reason, have left vulnerabilities in the system that allow Neo and company in, and let's also assume they have these wireless access points all over the world in case, who knows, a sentinel decides he needs to watch Grandma shower (They’re machines; who knows what they are into?). How about this? When something/one is accessing The Matrix from the wireless network, limit their bandwidth. If you’ve ever played a game online, you have at some point experienced network lag, which turns a dominating ass-kicking fest into a clip show of you getting your ass kicked, like a violent version of those stupid moving photo montages they used to do on Sesame Street. Now imagine how different things might have gone at the beginning of the first movie if Trinity flew into the air for that famous kick, but she really did hang there, only in her brain there was a “Connection interrupted” signal flashing and a room full of confused cops looking at the lady floating in mid-air. I imagine after the fact that she had just broken an officer’s arm and nose; they would shoot her a few times and see if she fell.

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