During the conversation between Smith and the Oracle in her apartment, Smith implies the Oracle created him.

Oracle: What did you do with Sati?

Smith: Cookies need love like everything does. [laughs]

Oracle: You are a bastard.

Smith: You would know, Mom.

The Matrix Revolutions

In the conversation between the Architect and Neo, the Architect explains

The first matrix I designed was quite naturally perfect, it was a work of art, flawless, sublime. A triumph equaled only by its monumental failure. The inevitability of its doom is as apparent to me now as a consequence of the imperfection inherent in every human being, thus I redesigned it based on your history to more accurately reflect the varying grotesqueries of your nature. However, I was again frustrated by failure. I have since come to understand that the answer eluded me because it required a lesser mind, or perhaps a mind less bound by the parameters of perfection. Thus, the answer was stumbled upon by another, an intuitive program, initially created to investigate certain aspects of the human psyche. If I am the father of the matrix, she would undoubtedly be its mother.

The Matrix Reloaded

So, the Architect created the Matrix too perfectly and it collapsed. Then the Oracle came along and made things imperfect so humans could live more happily in their machine made energy harnessing pods.

I believe the Oracle created Smith, given the dialogue above. But if there is evidence to say otherwise, please explain here.

Assuming the Oracle did create Smith, what was the purpose? I believe ultimately that she created Smith so Neo would have bargaining power with the machines when he goes to make the peace deal (beating Smith for the Machines in return for freeing humans / not killing humans). But what motivation would the Oracle have to do this if she is just another program in the Matrix used to pacify humans.

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    Good question! Smith's reference to the Oracle as "mom" is a confusing one (there's a related -- not a duplicate -- question about it here). This question deserves more upvotes, in my opinion.
    – Null
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 16:44
  • How sure are you that "an intuitive program... created to investigate certain aspects of the human psyche" refers to the Oracle, when the Oracle later specifically states that her purpose was to unbalance the equation inherent in the Matrix?
    – user31563
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 16:50
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    @Snowman Neo's reply to the Architect after he says "she would undoubtedly be its mother" is "The Oracle". The Architect's response to that is "Please" (as in, please don't use such a pretentious name for her) and then he goes on to explain her solution. He doesn't correct Neo's assumption that the program in question is the Oracle...so it's the Oracle.
    – Null
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 16:58
  • 2
    @Null Possibly a relevant piece of trivia: In computer science, an oracle is an (imaginary) machine that gives answers to problems not amenable to computation otherwise, an extension of an abstract computing machine that, in a sense, answers questions that cannot possibly be answered by that abstract machine alone. Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 5:45

3 Answers 3


Smith likely called the Oracle "Mom" as a reference to the fact that she is the "mother" of the Matrix, rather than as an indication that she was his creator. There are several reasons why this is the case.

The first is that every program, including the Oracle, has one purpose. Her purpose was to investigate the human psyche, not write Agent programs to guard the Matrix. Agents and Agent-like programs have been necessary for all iterations of the Matrix, including the betas (which existed before the Oracle devised her choice-based model), so such guard programs would have been created before the Oracle influenced the design of the Matrix (the Agents' predecessors were probably created before even the Oracle herself).

Also, the Oracle's dialogue suggests that it was not her but rather the system (the Architect's "equation") that made Smith so powerful in order to counteract Neo's growing power:

[Smith] is you. Your opposite, your negative, the result of the equation trying to balance itself out.

The Matrix Revolutions (transcript)

I believe ultimately that she created Smith so Neo would have bargaining power with the machines when he goes to make the peace deal (beating Smith for the Machines in return for freeing humans / not killing humans).

The problem with this thinking is that the Oracle had no way of knowing that Neo would take the path he chose (which led to the end of the war) until after she would have needed to "create" Smith. She didn't know how it would all end even after Smith had assimilated most of the Matrix in the third film:

Neo: You helped me to get here, but my question is why? Where does this go? Where does it end?

Oracle: I don't know.

Neo: You don't know or you won't tell me?

Oracle: I told you before. No one can see beyond a choice they don't understand, and I mean no one.

The Matrix Revolutions (transcript)

The virus Smith was created at the end of the first film (when Neo destroyed Agent Smith). At that time, Neo didn't even know which door he would choose when he visited the Architect (the door to the Source or back to the Matrix) much less why he would make that choice (to return to the Matrix to save Trinity, as it turns out). Since Neo didn't understand that choice, he couldn't see past it -- which means the Oracle couldn't, either. Neither Neo nor the Oracle could have known that Neo would ultimately strike a deal with the machines to destroy Smith in exchange for saving Zion at the time that Smith became a virus. If the Oracle could not see that far into the future then she'd have no reason to create Smith.

What happened is that the Oracle saw that (1) Smith had become a virus and would become powerful enough to destroy the Matrix and (2) Neo had a "profound attachment" to Trinity in particular which would cause him to return to the Matrix rather than go to the Source and start the next Matrix cycle. Taken together, these two pieces of information mean that the Matrix cycles will not continue: either Smith would destroy the Matrix, or the Matrix would collapse due to Neo's failure to return to the Source to start the next cycle. She saw an opportunity to end the war between the humans and machines by uniting them against Smith, and she took a gamble in guiding Neo down that path. The key, however, is that she took this gamble after Smith became a virus. She was adjusting her plans as events occurred, rather than engineering them in advance.

But what motivation would the Oracle have to do this if she is just another program in the Matrix used to pacify humans.

Although the Oracle did not create Smith herself, this is still an interesting question. Why would the Oracle -- a machine program -- work to end the Matrix system she helped create? Her answer:

Oracle: I want the same thing you want, Neo. And I am willing to go as far as you are to get it.

Neo: The end of the war.

[The Oracle nods]

The Matrix Revolutions (transcript)

The Oracle realized that the humans and machines could co-exist without war if (1) the machines were willing to give up some control over humans by letting them exit the Matrix if they wanted to and (2) the humans were willing to allow some humans to choose to live in the Matrix instead of sacrificing all the blue pills in their quest to the destroy the Matrix at all costs. She did all this in order to end the war, which had the potential to completely eradicate both the humans and machines.

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    Excellently written, researched and detailed answer. Thanks so much! It raises a few more questions though that I will have to ask in another post.. maybe you'll be able to answer those too
    – PyRsquared
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 16:47
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    @killerT2333 Happy to help, and thanks for accepting! There are plenty of experts on The Matrix here so hopefully your questions can all be answered!
    – Null
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 17:14
  • Based on the Architect and Oracle's skillset, and the fact that they built it together, it seems that the Architect created everything, and the Oracle essentially performed quality assurance on the Architect's work (and may have suggested what the Architect should create to fix a flaw). Since she knows human nature and can predict future events, she is able to spot flaws in the Architect's expectations of a functioning Matrix that is compatible with humans.
    – Flater
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 14:40

Neither Neo nor the Oracle created Smith. Like one pointed out; he was basically always a part of that system. (He was an agent, the alpha agent if you will.)

What people don’t understand is; Smith couldn't fly or do any of that stuff, until he came in contact with Neo and, later in part 3, when he consumed the Oracle! He said, "what a rush!" At the beginning he said, "the great and powerful Oracle!" She was the one that was most nearly equal to Neo in power. That's why that version of Smith was able to fly and battle Neo at the end of part 3.

The Oracle and Neo's plan to defeat Smith and free Zion was in part by allowing her to be taken by Smith. That's what the architect told her at the end: "you played a very dangerous game!" "How long do you think this peace of yours can last?" Her reply, "as long as it can!"

Neo is recognized as the Savior of Zion; but it would be remiss not to recognize the support and contributions of The Oracle and others as being important as well. Contributing to that end, Smith was able to copy himself. That's what she meant when she said, "I see the darkness spreading, and you are all that stands in his way!"

That's why the lights went out right before he took Sati and Seraph. Seraph said, "I've beaten you before!" but Smith said, "that's true, but as you can see, things have changed!" Smith was on his mission to consume everything; according to the Oracle, that included the machine city. That's why Neo was able to bargain with them: his help in defeating Smith in exchange for them sparing Zion.

At the end, when Smith was destroyed and Neo lay dead, the Machines recognized Him as their Savior as well. The head machine said, "it is done." Then they paid honor to him, by carrying him out in a hero's fashion. In part 4 they acknowledge Neo as being The Savior of Zion.

Neo's goal and plan was always to save Trinity. When he, with the help of others, was able to free her she had his power at the start and could fly. At the end of the movie he had it too and was flying away with her.

One might conjecture why he temporarily lost his ability to fly, but I'm reminded of what counselor Hamann said to him in part 2: "that you are in fact still human." (He was Thomas A. Anderson; before he was ever Neo.) I see that as a good thing; people get old, including people in the Matrix.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. This is one giant wall of text; can you please format it into paragraphs so it's readable? As it is, I can't even pick out if any of it actually answers the question.
    – DavidW
    Commented Aug 4, 2022 at 15:39

Interesting answers. Here is my opinion on it.

The Architect makes it clear the Oracle is not the "Mother" of the Matrix. I believe this is Sati actually. Sati is a program part of a "family" of 2 other programs, her "parents". The father discusses "love" and "karma", human concepts, that he is grateful to have had the opportunity to experience them with his wife and Sati. There are no other programs presented in the movies which share this "human" experience. At the very end of the final movie, Sati tells the Oracle to look at the beautiful sunrise she made for Neo. The Oracle asks her if she made this for Neo and she answers yes. There is also all the parallels to Christ, Neo as a savior sacrificing himself, a light of cross appearing on him as he "dies" at machine city, the sun "rising again" at the end as they discuss Neo will "rise again" (I'm sure we'll see him again says the Oracle). But this is another discussion.

The Oracle states she never knew what would happen exactly but she did believe it would happen. Belief is a strong recurring theme in the final Matrix. Everyone believes they can so much, that they succeed in the end. Neo gets the Lagos ship from Niobe because "she believes in him", Trinity believes in Neo, she believes him when he says they will make it to machine city and so they make it, etc.

I think the Oracle wasn't foreseeing everything as much as we think she was, but more so was influencing the present to get the future she wanted: peace. Another allusion to this is in the first movie when Neo goes to visit her. When Neo breaks the vase after she warns him, she tells him: what's really going to bake your noodle later on is would you still have broken it if I hadn't said anything.

This comes back to a recurring theme: belief becomes reality. The Oracle in my opinion is the whole mastermind behind "creating" Neo, by having Morpheus have the belief that he would find "The One" that would save them all and by convincing Trinity she would love "The One". Remember all the "potentials" in the Oracle's home? None of them were able to have this belief power be so strong and become "the one", their savior. The Equation by the Architect, to balance itself out and the new Neo, creates Agent Smith, which is why Smith calls The Oracle "Mom". She didn't know exactly how it would all go down but she believed it would ... and it did.

  • Sati is far too young to be the mother of the Matrix. She was created without purpose so she needs to hide in the Matrix to avoid being deleted, and that's also why her parents made a deal with the Merovingian. If she were old enough to be the mother of the Matrix, why did it take her parents 6 cycles of the Matrix to make a deal with the Merovingian? Sati will almost certainly replace the Oracle, but she is not the mother of the Matrix.
    – Null
    Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 14:46
  • The only reason to think that the Oracle is not the mother of the Matrix is the Architect's response "please" when Neo referred to her as such. But as I said in a comment on the question, he wasn't denying that she was the mother -- he was objecting to the pretentious title Neo uses for her ("The Oracle"). To the Architect, the Oracle is simply an "intuitive program initially created to investigate certain aspects of the human psyche".
    – Null
    Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 14:49
  • Other than that you make some good points about belief becoming reality, Neo's parallels to Christ, etc. Welcome to Science Fiction and Fantasy!
    – Null
    Commented Mar 6, 2019 at 14:50

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