The Matrix sequels both introduced Matrix programs that were as complex and mysterious as the Oracle and Smith, but how were they created exactly?
A clever Matrix theory might explain exactly how Agent Smith and other important Matrix programs were created. While the first Matrix film only features two important Matrix programs, the Agents and the Oracle, the Matrix sequels expanded the world and introduced many other programs. Each with a distinct personality, the Matrix programs are some of the most fascinating yet mysterious parts of the Matrix movies.
The first Matrix movie could perhaps suggest that Agent Smith and the Oracle were the exceptions when it comes to the Matrix programs’ personalities, as the rest of the Agents were rather one-dimensional characters. However, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions both introduced programs as complex and mysterious as the Oracle. In addition, Agent Smith became even more human-like in each movie, raising a question about how the Matrix programs were created in the first place.
Could The Matrix Programs Have Been Created From Humans?
According to a fan theory (via Reddit), some of the Matrix programs are not AI-based but rather something created by humans who once lived in the Matrix simulation. The first Matrix cycle consisted mostly of humans from the real world that was imprisoned, and some of them may have served as the “basic code” for the machines to create the Matrix programs. It would actually make a lot of sense for the machines to use the consciousness of real humans uploaded into the Matrix as an inspiration for its programs, as most of those programs would have to emulate humans inside the Matrix simulation.
While it is difficult to believe that all Matrix programs like the Agents were actually humans who once lived in the Matrix simulation, it is not at all far-fetched to assume that the machines learned from humans before evolving the Matrix. For example, the first Matrix cycle had been designed as paradise originally, only for the machines to realize that the human brain would always reject such a perfect scenario. The Oracle helped design the other Matrix cycles based on what she had learned about humans in the first two Matrix iterations, which adds to the theory that programs were once humans.
Agent Smith Having Being Human Would Explain His Matrix Story
Though most of the Agents act and behave the same, it would make sense for at least Agent Smith to have been created from a human who lived in the Matrix. Agent Smith was different from other Agents since the beginning of The Matrix, far before he merged with Neo and broke free of his programming. Smith had limitations in his original programming that were only overcome after he merged with Neo, The One, but he also displayed inherently human traits from the start. Agent Smith used irony during his conversations with Neo and Morpheus in The Matrix, for example.
Agent Smith despised humans, which by itself is a contradiction for a character that should not feel any emotions at all. The machines did not hate humans. In fact, they needed humans to continue existing in the Matrix to survive. Despise the events of The Matrix franchise’s First Machine War, there was still a level of respect between machines and humans as revealed during Neo’s conversation with Deus Ex-Machina in The Matrix Revolutions. Therefore, Agent Smith’s hatred toward humans could be hiding the fact Smith himself was once a human or at least created from one during the inception of the Matrix.
The “Programs Were Once Human” Theory Explains Other Matrix Mysteries
In theory, every Matrix program should be an artificial intelligence. As such, every Matrix program should act and behave the same. However, that is not the case. Except for the Agents, all the key Matrix programs seen in The Matrix and its three sequels have distinct personalities. The most important Matrix programs like the Merovingian, the Oracle, or the Keymaker also display a level of agency that should not exist if they were just an extension of the machines’ will. In The Matrix Resurrections, for example, the Merovingian was having an existential crisis far too layered for a regular AI.
The fact that the Matrix programs are characters themselves can be explained from a narrative standpoint. They are not just part of the Matrix simulation, they are characters with Neo to interact. However, when it comes to in-universe explanations as to why the Matrix programs are so human-like, it makes sense to theorize that they were once humans. The Matrix Resurrections proved many Matrix theories wrong, but it actually contributed to the idea that characters like the Oracle or the Merovingian might have been created from the consciousness of humans that were once uploaded in the first two Matrix cycles.