In the animatrix, we learn that the machines founded a machine-sity state called "zero-one" after finding that coexisting along humans in the human-led nation-states would be impossible. Zero-one subsequently flourishes and its powerful export-economy cripples the economies of the human nation-states. I do understand the latter part: human capitalists being tempted or even compelled to import from zero-one to pursue profit maximization makes sense (However, another good question would be why the machines choose for this economic relation: do they need specific resources that cannot be found near zero-one and thus are compelled to trade?). The current China vs. West relationship is also demonstrative in this regard: close economic links due to cheap imports being possible from China as opposed to political hostility.

My main question is however how the humans could have allowed such a de facto machine nation-state to get into existence: the context in the animatrix is one where the humans are already extremely suspicious of their mechanic brothers, they would surely freak out at the first sign of an independent political entity and quell it at its inception? (something that seems plausible to do)

To anticipate the naysayers: I wouldn't say that this question is a duplicate of this one since that question is more about the weapons used against zero-one instead of the timing. I don't get an answer to my question from the answers given there.

  • This answer on the question you linked feels like it almost answers your question better than the question it was posted to. The first sentence seems to dispute your premise ("celebrated the advent" vs "already extremely suspicious"), but it's years since I've watched any of this, so I can't comment which of you is correct.
    – IMSoP
    May 10, 2020 at 12:54
  • 1
    Yes, I think you should re-watch it. The events leading up to the founding of zero-one is the condamnation and execution of B166ER for his act of self-defence, subsequently the million machine march was viciously put down and there was a pogrom-culture against machines etc.
    – Vergilius
    May 10, 2020 at 13:08

1 Answer 1


Everything we know about 01 comes from the 'historical archive' depicted in the Animatrix short The Second Renaissance, Part 1, which frankly isn't much. We do know that the machines had some sympathisers amongst the humans and we know that after the machines were expelled they made their base near to Mesopotamia, in an area often referred to as the Fertile Crescent, but in reality a place with vast swathes of unfarmable desert of very little use to humanity.

“Banished from humanity, the machines sought refuge in their own promised land. They settled in the cradle of human civilization, and thus a new nation was born. A place the machines could call home, a place they could raise their descendants, and they christened the nation ‘Zero one’. Zero one prospered, and for a time, it was good. The machine’s artificial intelligence could be seen in every facet of society, including the creation of new and better AI.”

It would appear that they were initially tolerated by the Western nations. Possibly the nations nearby (Iraq, Turkey, etc) granted them a piece of worthless land and gave them some sort of legitimacy in return for financial considerations. By the time the human leaders decided to act against them, the city was basically impregnable.

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