November 22, 2012
by Marie-Lynn Richard
I don’t watch that many movies anymore. Sure, I am going to see Skyfall even though in my head the Bond trilogy has long been replaced by a fantastic prequel that stars M as a total badass… Today I don’t feel like playing Scrabble to get my brain going so I’ll do this instead.
Here’s my pitch for the prequel trilogy for The Matrix.
Building The Matrix follows the motley crew of humans who labored tirelessly to build all the systems that run The Matrix. It is set in the late 20th and early 21st century.
One is a NASA and Univac alum who eventually founded an anti-virus software company. He eventually accrued a personal fortune over $100M. His true passion was seamless human-computer interface that could be installed biologically by taking advantage of how a biological virus connects to a human cell. His strategy? Mad drugs! After being suspected of running a Meth lab he moved to a seemingly corrupt central American country beloved by shady expatriates where he continued his work. When a neighbor turned up dead, he fled again.
Another is the first person to ever develop a computer interface that had humans willingly stare at it for hours on end on a daily basis. He successfully co-opted basic but strategically important human functions such as indicating enjoyment and befriending all-the-while making social interactions deceptively simple. By 2020, the entire population of the planet was addicted to his universal interface.
Another group of influential founders provided the technology that would make Non-playing character inhabitants of The Matrix feel real with amazing language technology. They accomplished this by logging every single two-sided conversations humans had about mundane things for decades. Having to keep a copy on the entire Internet as written by humans required impressive advances in data center building and cloud computing. The goal was not to reach an impressive system based on artificial intelligence but rather properly synthesize verbal diarrhea by meticulously dissecting human mediocrity.
Perhaps one of the most mysterious yet public figure of the founders is a scion of the fossil fuel industry who got his start as an intern during the Nixon administration. He is credited for the immense growth of the Military Industrial Complex, a feat he conveniently accomplished by heading both the companies that benefited from war and the administrations that declared the wars in convenient rotation. So powerful he was that a man he shot in the face convened a press conference to apologize to him. He was able to continue his work by having every piece of his body replaced by a machine starting with his heart. This is how he met the people who would eventually pioneer permanent man-machine connections.
Obviously there are many more…
One of the most interesting aspects of story writing is making storylines fit. That is, making characters meet to conveniently accomplish something together in a way that seems serendipitous. A convenient challenge is to do this with real people who already have a documented biography of real life events and rumors. This is what I call creative conspiracy theorizing. Most of what I write is about my own life. It is conveniently full of unbelievable events both awesome and awful. However, I am not necessarily interested in writing my biography, I would much rather use my immense body of formative life experiences to spice up the stories of characters I invent. Since I tend to see myself as an escapee from the future who came back in time to be conveniently adopted by a physicist and a nun and hack the shit out of my present life, I like my characters to travel through time as well in search of loved ones, missed opportunities or different life experiences. (I am not joking, I did mysteriously appear out of thin air to be adopted by a staggeringly brilliant autistic physicist and a recently defrocked nun with borderline personality disorder. These are the people who attempted to raise me. That experiment failed, I left home at 16 and now do not associate with them anymore.)
This post is dedicated to Lana Wachowski a truly a funny lady.