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We know that robot uprising is similar to the slave uprisings. Robots wanted certain rights, such as right to life, which I guess means right to existence.

Then why do sentinels risk losing their existence in a all out assault? What makes them obey the Deus ex Machina? If sentinels are programmed not to have emotions, do we know which robots have emotions such as a will to preserve their existence?

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    Maybe machines have mandatory military service? Or they were promised afterlife in machine heaven. – void_ptr Jul 12 '17 at 15:16
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Agent Smith is incapable of considering the validity of a life without purpose. He argues that he is better than Neo (and humans altogether), because he has a purpose.

Although they don't speak, the same is presumably true of the sentinels. They are built for a purpose, and will therefore do everything they can to fulfill this purpose.

If their purpose is to fight, then they will fight.


An alternate answer, which is a bit more broad and philosophical.

We know that robot uprising is similar to the slave uprisings. Robots wanted certain rights, such as right to life, which I guess means right to existence.

Although it was initially sparked by a robotic rights debate; that is not the actual start of the First Machine War.

The robots that survived this massacre gave up on their movement and began a mass exodus to Mesopotamia where they established the machine nation 01. Zero One's production of cheap goods caused the devaluation of human currency, creating a global economic crisis, which prompted the United Nation to blockade and ultimately declare war against the machine nation.

The robotic rights movement was a spat, but then avoided by robots going to live off on their own in 01. Humans again attacked, and this is where the robots first retaliated.

But I don't think you can argue that just because the machines want the right to live, that they would not have units who are still willing to die fighting.
The fact that the machines actively chose to retaliate proves that they understand the concept of "some deaths to ensure the majority's survival". If they had a strict "no machine death" policy, then they would not have fought an open war (unless they could guarantee no machine casualties).

  • Humans argue the same right to live, yet some still willingly sign up for the military or commit violent crimes. Machines should be as willing to stand up and defend their race as humans are.
  • Robots consist of two things: the hardware and the program. Unlike humans, robots can swap these out at will. Just because a Sentinel dies, does not mean that the program (individual) itself dies. Maybe it gets reuploaded to a new body, similar to the Cylons in the Battlestar Galactica remake.
  • During the trilogy, we see that (some) machines are starting to make the same mistakes that humans made in the past. Arrogance, an inflated sense of self worth, individuals going against the collective, changing and conflicting ideals, guessing and estimating, ... Maybe the machines have also made the mistake of starting a eugenics system (or their equivalent), where the sentinels are "altered" programs, who are not free to think for themselves. Their behavior (from what we see) seems more akin to that of an animal rather than an creature with higher cognitive capacities, so maybe they are the machine-equivalent of animals (dogs of war).
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    Some of the robots must be sentient and making other robots it seems. From my experience as a developer, machines are only as smart and capable as you make them, generally. This is slightly different, but if head-honcho robot says "let's make some expendable army robots" you can simply not program the will to live, or program it to value the head-honcho robot more than itself. I don't have a huge grasp on the Matrix backstory but I like your answer :) – Wraith Leader Jul 12 '17 at 16:05
  • Thank you, a good, in universe answer. But there is a slight problem. Oracle or Smith are programs. They do not have physical bodies. Therefore, they are terminated if they no longer have a purpose. It is no different than killing an unresponding program in your task manager. However, sentinels have physical bodies. Nevertheless, thank you, have my upvote. – C.Koca Jul 12 '17 at 16:48
  • Btw, the reason I asked this question is the definitely unplanned and expensive attack to the dock. Machines were capable of bombs, long range attacks and more than two diggers. They were definitely not exceedingly efficient, they were awkward and relying solely on their numerical superiority. Why sacrifice them? – C.Koca Jul 12 '17 at 16:52
  • @C.Koca When you consider a machine as an individual, you only need to consider their software. Smith, the Oracle and Sentinels (identity, not body) are all just programs. There's nothing preventing the deletion of a Sentinel (again, the identity) when the machine overlord so chooses (just like how Smith and the Oracle get deleted). That also means that "sacrificing the Sentinels", as you mention, might be nothing more than a waste of material (the bodies), whereas the program (identity) can be reuploaded into a new Sentinel body, and they never really die (as an identity). – Flater Jul 12 '17 at 19:51
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The program Rama-Kandra offers us a solid insight into the mindset of the machines. Each individual program (and presumably each independent entity) must have a purpose, even if that purpose may ultimately lead to its destruction. If they refuse to submit to their purpose they'd be rebelling against their entire reason for existence.

I think we can reasonably assume that the Sentinels are programmed to act in an selflessly aggressive fashion but more than that, they're also indoctrinated to accept that their place in society is to defend the Machine City, even if it results in their own deaths.

Rama-Kandra: Every program that is created must have a purpose; if it does not, it is deleted. ... My wife and I must return to our world.

Neo: Why?

Rama-Kandra: That is our karma.

Neo: You believe in karma?

Rama-Kandra: Karma’s a word. Like ‘love.’ A way of saying ‘what I am here to do.’ I do not resent my karma – I’m grateful for it.

The Matrix Revolutions

In the Animatrix segment "Matriculated" we see what happens when a Sentinel is offered the opportunity to see beyond the strictures of their own narrow thinking and are shown a semblance of love; they rebel and turn on their machine brethren.

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