Oh my goodness I've just learned a thing about The Matrix that causes it to make a lot more sense: In the original script the humans were used as neural network compute clusters by the Machines and as a crucial component of The Matrix itself.

Which is why humans who were aware of the simulation could control aspects of The Matrix - their minds were part of its foundation.

Unfortunately the test audiences had trouble understanding this concept so the studio changed the human role to "batteries".

@SinaCutie I'm just going to pretend that when Morpheus refers to humans as batteries it's an allegory for how the humans "power the matrix" as computing platforms :blobcatinnocent:

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@polychrome @SinaCutie
That's some pretty solid headcanon. Though you'd think if folks are willing to erase the rat from the Departed (web.archive.org/web/2019021919 ) maybe they could ADR in some slightly different dialogue.

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