In The Matrix Revolutions, Rama Kandra (Sati's father) tells Neo that Sati was created without purpose and has been flagged for deletion:

I love my daughter very much... But where we are from, that is not enough. Every program that is created must have a purpose; if it does not, it is deleted. I went to the Frenchman to save my daughter.

The Oracle explained in The Matrix Reloaded that a program flagged for deletion must make a choice:

Oracle: ...usually a program chooses exile when it faces deletion.

Neo: And why would a program be deleted?

Oracle: Maybe it breaks down. Maybe a better program is created to replace it - happens all the time, and when it does, a program can either choose to hide [in the Matrix], or return to The Source.

Rama Kandra made a deal with the Merovingian to smuggle Sati into the Matrix via Mobil Avenue, so evidently Sati chose to hide in the Matrix (i.e. exile). But since Sati has no purpose whatsoever, why didn't she voluntarily choose deletion?1 Every other exile we see chose exile over deletion because it still feels it can carry out its purpose. Notable examples include:

So far no one has come up with an example of a program that voluntarily chose deletion rather than exile, but Sati would seem to be the perfect example of a program that would choose deletion. If any program in all of the history of the Matrix had a reason to voluntarily choose deletion, it was Sati. So why didn't she?

1I'm not saying I wanted the little girl to choose deletion or be deleted, I'm curious why she chose exile.

  • Because it's the in thing to do; everybody's doing it!
    – Möoz
    Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 1:04
  • Um... would YOU choose deletion? Some people would quickly sacrifice their life for another, but most want to live.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 19:01
  • 2021 AD : Deletion, please.
    – Mazura
    Commented Dec 8, 2021 at 23:54

4 Answers 4


Sati was, as you say, created without purpose. Perhaps she was also created with a desire to continue existing.

Almost all other programs we see in The Matrix (and all those you list specifically in your question) were originally created with a purpose - and instructions to delete once they have been superseded. In the case of programs like Agent Smith, he does not acknowledge that he has been superseded and simply continues fulfilling his original purpose.

So, we see Sati is just different - no purpose but existence.

  • Yes, I think it is reasonable to think that Sati represents some sort of evolved program based on the fact that she is slated to replace the Oracle, and her father understands love. Perhaps she has evolved so that purpose is not so important, and she "desires to continue existing". +1
    – Null
    Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 3:36
  • +1; "no purpose but existence" - I take this to mean that her purpose is to exist. It makes sense, since her existence seems to make her parents happy, so therefore her purpose is simply to exist without any further purpose beyond that.
    – NathanS
    Commented Aug 10, 2020 at 9:18

Need to clarify some stuff here for this answer to make sense.


Key point here - I don't think purpose is the full reason these AI's choose exile. If that was the case, no program would ever be deleted, since even if they are replaced (ala the Merovingian) they can still perform their function.

Rather, I think the reason they choose exile is that they have acquired aspects of humanity.

The System

First of all - these movies are about The System. Neo, the One, represents free will and choice - the system breaking down. Smith, his negative, represents the system running wild, consuming everything until it destroys itself. The Matrix, prior to the movies, is the system perfectly balanced.

In other words - humanity introduces the unstable elements to the system and causes it to fail.

Smith and Humanity

I'd argue that Smith didn't just come back because he had a purpose, otherwise Agents from previous Cycles would be about as viruses. They would all face the same choice Smith did. Rather, he comes back because he has the same "weakness" as Neo - he is too human.

Smith himself says...

I hate this place. This zoo. This prison. This reality, whatever you want to call it, I can't stand it any longer. It's the smell, if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink and every time I do, I fear that I've somehow been infected by it.

While Neo is told by the Architect...

Your five predecessors were by design based on a similar predication, a contingent affirmation that was meant to create a profound attachment to the rest of your species, facilitating the function of the one. While the others experienced this in a very general way, your experience is far more specific. Vis-a-vis, love.

In other words, both Neo and Smith are experiencing human traits far more than others of their kind - note how the movie goes out of it's way to show that Smith is different from the other Agents. He displays emotion, occasionally desires privacy, and what's more he desires something other than his purpose.

I must get out of here. I must get free and in this mind is the key, my key. Once Zion is destroyed there is no need for me to be here, don't you understand?

Smith does not want to be in the Matrix. He has goals and aspirations beyond his purpose - a very human trait. Given this, I find it very difficult to believe the other agents would have chosen exile, despite having the same purpose as Smith. Smith may talk of purpose, but his true motivation is far more human - he wants revenge.

Programs in the Machine World are AI - though created for specific purposes, they all have intelligence and can (and do) rebel. Some seem to either simply have been created with human traits either by design or accident - like The Oracle. Others may have these traits through prolonged contact with humans.

Sati and The Oracle

The clincher for me is who Sati is paired up with - The Oracle. The Oracle is one of the most human machines, or at least the machine that understands humanity best. It's implied that Sati is her apprentice, or at least that they have some strong connection. This highlights that Sati, too, has some strong human aspects. Even before then it is shown in her father, who talks of love. Not purpose, but love. Sati and her story displays all the human traits the movie holds high - choice, adaptability and love.

Sati's Purpose

All of this brings me to the appropriately cliched and human answer to your question. Sati didn't choose deletion because she doesn't need a purpose. She'll make her own.

  • "If that was the case, no program would ever be deleted...". It seems pretty rare for a program to choose deletion (we currently have no known examples) so I think it is possible that purpose is the full (or at least overwhelmingly important) reason why programs choose exile.
    – Null
    Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 16:33
  • Re: Smith vs. the other Agents: We have no evidence that Agents are flagged for deletion at the end of a cycle; they are simply re-used in the next cycle. Smith uniquely faced the choice between deletion and exile because he was destroyed by Neo, no other Agent (that we know of) has been flagged for deletion.
    – Null
    Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 16:35
  • True, but I think it's safe to assume at least one (almost certainly all) of Neo's predecessors killed at least one agent. Besides, everything about their design - the uniformity, the suits, the apparent lack of names, the lack of personality - is tailored towards the idea that they are the personification of the system - they follow the rules. As I pointed out, the movie is very careful to show that Smith is unusual (note the suspicion when the agent comes back in after Smiths private conversation with Morpheus - showing that even the other agents have noticed it).
    – DavidS
    Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 16:59
  • And as for choosing deletion I'd argue the opposite. Why would you hear about programs choosing deletion? They'd be programs that invisibly followed the rules (as is explicitly stated in Reloaded), then got deleted at the correct time. The exiles seem to me to be the unusual ones (consider how few of them their are, and how little the main system seems to hunt for them). Choosing exile is fighting the system, so by definition only the rebellious or human-like would choose it.
    – DavidS
    Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 17:04
  • While it seems likely that a previous One killed an Agent, it's clear that this cycle is very different both because of Neo and because of Smith. Smith nearly destroyed the Matrix and he made the Oracle quite worried -- I don't think it's safe to assume an Agent was killed previously. Your point that Agent Smith was somewhat different from the other Agents is a good one, but I don't think it's strong enough to prove the point you're trying to make.
    – Null
    Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 18:05

Three possibilities spring to mind;

  • I think you're overestimating the duties of the Merovingian's henchmen. Their original purpose was certainly not to act as enforcers and bodyguards for a single individual. The Architect makes it abundantly clear that their version of the Matrix (the so-called "Nightmare Matrix") has long ceased to exist along with the majority of its denizens which strongly suggests that his men have found a new niche.

  • While Sati may have been created with no purpose, this doesn't seem to immediately result in her wanting to commit effective suicide. It's certainly possible that since she was unlicensed in the first place, her parents also neglected to include the 'kill code'.

  • On a lighter note, at the end of Revolutions, we see that Sati has made a beautiful sunset for Neo. It's certainly possible that spending time with the Oracle helped her to find a purpose in life after all...

Sati is still a child (even though she is a program). So I don't think she made the decision. Her parents, mainly her father, wanted her to be save in the Matrix, as he loves her. Would you kill your child if the authorities told you so or would you try to hide it somewhere safe?

  • I think it is possible that she was overruled by her parents in making the decision since she was only a child. +1 for that. Although, she seems to have a zest for life so it seems like she would have made the same decision to go into exile on her own anyway.
    – Null
    Commented Jul 10, 2015 at 16:40

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