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Headscratchers / The Animatrix

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    Putting a Robot on Trial? 
  • If the robot from Animatrix: Second Renaissance was put on trial for murder, doesn't that mean it was granted or assumed to have more or less the rights of a human being, which could be taken away upon its conviction? And if it is assumed to have such rights, wouldn't that make its actions basically self-defense?
    • I got the impression that the robot wasn't itself put on trial, but that they were debating the right of the robot to have a trial in the first place. The robot itself was called to speak so it could rationalise its emotional response to the events and prove its humanity. In the end however the council voted to deny machines due process and dispose of the him as a simple defective product (For pragmatic, economic reasons most probably). This injustice is what caused the pro machine riots.
    • Possibly not. Strictly speaking, self-defense works only as long as you are actually in danger (or at least a reasonably convinced you are) and has to be somewhat proportional. The robot is shown killing everything in the house (including the dog), and crushing a human's head with its bare hands.
    • I got the impression that the whole story was Machine propaganda. "You see, you humans tried to destroy us for no good reason, so we just started doing your jobs better than you, so you tried to kill us all again, so you screwed the whole planet trying to destroy us all. See? We're justified in putting you all in jars!" Something like that.
    • There have been times in this history of jurisprudence when animals were put on trial, before modern legal systems deemed them to lack moral culpability and hence, be exempt from such accountability. Presumably the development of AI re-opened that long-sealed can of worms, and the butler-robot's trial was a test case for the issue.
  • Why would a butler robot need to have full-blown AI and enough strength to crush a human head with its bare hands? For that matter, couldn't the machines have been programmed to ENJOY their work?
    • Well, there's a long tradition of ludicrously overpowered SF robots, but maybe it's not a robot 'butler' but a universal robot worker that just gets told/programmed to do a given job. If it was used as a manual laborer or a soldier superhuman strength would be very useful. As regards the robot being able to rebel, perhaps there is a loophole or error in the program, or maybe it just wasn't designed very well (cheap model with lax safety standards?) Maybe true AI is impossible without making free-willed A.I.s.
      • The robot doesn't rebel because he hates his job. The robot rebels because he's about to be deactivated and destroyed — and, in fact, insofar as he's devoted to his job, this matters doubly because he, in his own judgment, *has done a good job* and therefore cannot process his owner's whim to have him junked as a logical requirement of his job. In a situation like this, the nascent seed of self-preservation that seems intrinsic to becoming sentient is able to trump duty, when duty is being so clearly callously tossed aside.
      • And obediently accepting it when your owner tells you that your service is done isn't part of the duty a robot would be programmed with? What, did the appliance industry give up on the ol' "planned obsolesence" schtick, somewhere along the future timeline?
      • A.I. Is a Crapshoot. Humans gave it some decision-making programming, which overrode its order-following programming.
    • it makes some sense to have a helper that is very, very strong. if, for instance a person bought a t.v. that was very large and heavy, wouldn't it be a goodsend to have someone who could carry that TV all the way up, and put it down right where you want it? or a child looses something under the fridge, robot comes in and moves the fridge to get to it.

    Machines Dissecting People? 
  • In the Second Renaissance, why did the machines need to dissect and generally screw with human bodies to study them? Presumably humans would have created medical robots that should know all of this stuff already.
    • Maybe they were studying humans further? I don't think there was mention of humans already owning the "machine/human interface"-tech, and it would have been sort of important if there had been half-human cyborgs in the war.
    • Human-made medical robots would be programmed with ethical limitations. 01's bots have no such qualms.
      • Not only human made robots, a huge part of all medical/anatomical/biological/psychological research on living beings this side of WWII has been ham-stringed by ethical considerations in real life. The machines would be able to do all sort of research that hasn't been touched for that reason and which might prove useful to the war.
      • Plus who's to say that they weren't also looking to inflict greater pain and misery on the humans that they had defeated?
    • By the end of the war the machines had 100% figured out the intrincacies of human biology, something that even the advanced human civilization seen in Second Renaissance most likely was not close to achieve. They did it at first to maximize the efficiency of the biologica/chemical warfare they used against the humans, and then that knowledge was the base to create the Matrix.

    No EMP's When They Nuked 01? 
  • Okay, so we know that electromagnetic pulses stop the machines dead in their tracks. And we know that in the Animatrix, it talks about how the humans A-bombed the living daylights out of the machine home city. But the Animatrix talks about how the bombing was entirely ineffective since radiation doesn't effect the machines in the same way it does humanity. Okay... but what about the EMP that the a-bombs put off? Shouldn't that have been even more devastating to the machines than anything else?
    • Chalk it up to the Animatrix creators not doing the research.
      • No, they did do the research in this case. Nuclear bombs only cause noticeable EMP's when they're detonated in the upper atmosphere. Near-surface explosions wouldn't have any. As for why the human military didn't think to EMP the machine empire to begin with, or exactly how the machines could survive thermonuclear temperatures and yet be vulnerable to some fast-moving electrons... that's another question.
      • Even if the radiation and EMP were both ineffective, a nuke is still a big freakin' bomb. It should've accomplished something.
      • Also, even primitive 20th-century human technology had developed the capability to shield some aircraft flight systems from EMP attacks. Presumably the machines also developed this capability thus rendering syuch a tactic ineffective. Although, again, why exactly said machines chose to abandon said shielding technology in subsequent machine models (or indeed didn't retrofit their squiddies with anti-EMP technology after it was used against them even once ... is another question.
      • Probably the same reason not all soldiers deployed into war zones today are outfitted with full body armor: 1) cost, 2) sacrificed mobility, and 3) individual preference (some solders don't want to wear body armor in certain situations because of the added weight and the loss of maneuverability).
      • Except: (1) Cost is not an issue if you control the planet and all its resources, and the machines have "all the energy they need". (2) The squiddies have some kind of anti-gravity or hovercraft system; they almost move frictionlessly. Mobility seems a minor consideration. (3) Individual preference from a machine?
      • Don't forget that the machines actually want to give the humans the impression that they have a small fighting chance.
      • Even if the Machines survived the EMP and radiation caused by the bombs (which is rather plausible), how did they survive the explosion itself? Everything near Ground Zero of a nuclear explosion is practically vaporised, and the resulting shockwave causes extensive damage several kilometers away (depending on the yield of the bomb). Considering the amount of nuclear weapons launched at 01 it seems impossible that the Machines were not wiped out. Even if the initial bombardment was not an all-out attack (to minimize environmental damage), there should have been no similar concerns after Operation Dark Storm, since Humanity was on the losing side. In fact, they did use nuclear weapons against the Machine army, but strangely accomplished nothing. How is it possible that nuclear weapons (especially if used in large numbers; even today we have thousands of them available) were so utterly ineffective against the Machines?
      • The writers probably just wanted to point out that even our most powerful weapons were completely useless against the machine onslaught. There's no real reason why they shouldn't have worked. Only because the writers chose them not to.
  • The narration itself answers this, it mentions that unlike humans, "the machines had little to fear of the bombs' radiation and heat". They clearly found ways to counter the effects of nuclear weapons.
  • I think I've got it. The machines survived the blast the same way humans would - underground. They probably anticipated the use of nukes and beforehand prepared reinforced bunkers to retreat to.
  • That and back up systems stored in black box units. It's only logical for the Machines to have a method of backing up their most critical elements in a place notorious for being the center of conflict.

    Machines in the Middle East? 
  • In the Second Renaissance we see that the machines have founded their city in the Middle East (presumably Saudi Arabia). But what nation would voluntarily cede its territory to allow for the creation of such a city?! I'd imagine the Wahhabi monarchy of Saudi Arabia would consider the machines to be abominations to boot, making it all the less likely a place to build 01.
    • Metagaming it, it's because that whole area is rife with religious significance. In-universe ... who said it was ceded without something in return? Could be the Sauds traded the territory off. 01 seems to be formed right in the middle of the Quarter of Emptiness; if human beings can't live there, and the machines offered some sort of technology in payment, why wouldn't they give it to them?
      • The question is based on an unwarranted presumption: that there has been no geopolitical change between now and the time of The Second Rennaissance. We don't know what the situation was when 01 was founded. It could be that the land was UN owned for all we know.
      • Considering that people had developed fusion and AI, the Saudi's oil wealth may have dried up. There would definitely be some significant change there, we just don't know what form it would take.
    • The phrase "Cradle of Mankind's civilisation" (not the exact wording, but pretty much what was said) suggests they went for Mesopotamia, which is in what we now know as Iraq. Again, the lack of any mention of quite how they came into possession of this land opens up all kinda of Unfortunate Implications, more so given the geopolitical climate of the region at the time the Animatrix was released.

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