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How do the people who are plugged into the Matrix do daily work?

What I mean is; who tells them what to do next or where to go? Is it written into the Matrix program or are they free to choose??

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Think of what the Matrix is: it's a complete simulation of our entire society, right down to the smallest of details. When placed in this simulation, without knowing it's a simulation, people will behave just like they would in a real society. It's a giant, virtually-unlimited sandbox where people can chose what they do and where to go. The Matrix doesn't need to direct them.

In other words, day-to-day work gets done because people self-organize just as they do in the real world. Some people become low-level managers, telling workers what to do. Some people become upper-level managers, telling low-level managers what to do, etc. People form their own bureaucratic and social hierarchies in the simulation just as they would in real life.

It's likely that the machines started the simulation by initially placing the first-generation humans in particular roles/careers, but after that it was their choice where they went or what they did. It was only in extreme circumstances that the Matrix (i.e. Agents) stepped in and overrode people's choices, like when some individuals (Morpheus, Neo, etc.) chose paths that were deemed damaging to the Matrix as a whole.

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Many people in the matrix are real people. So what could happen is this: You can see, say, India on TV but if you never go there, does it have to exist?

If people go to India, do they go everywhere? No, they stay in a few places. So it might be possible to create a simulation of earth where only a few big spots exist and the rest doesn't - no one notices because no one ever goes hunting for indigenous people deep in some jungle area (and the few people who do could be simulations).

So the machines could let the people just live their lives. Since the Matrix is connected to their brain, it should even be possible to make the inhabitants to avoid areas that don't really exist without them noticing. Or they could take a traveler out, implant a false memory ("hey, I've been to India!") and put them back in after the voyage.

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  • This is how they did things in Dark City. People were aware of other places and had memories of them, but had blank spots in their memories when they tried to think about actually GOING to them.
    – phantom42
    Mar 18, 2012 at 16:18

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