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Agent Duties
the machines : agents

Besides combat, intimidation, interrogation, and investigation. The main task of Agents is stopping hackers. What is a hacker? We are going to speak of hackers in terms above and beyond that of someone who simply uses a computer. What is the essence of a hacker?

We will define a hacker as someone who gets at information they are not supposed to have (be it an IRS database, source code of a commerical product, etc.) and in reference to this topic, specifically information that Agents don't want you to have. An Agent doesn't care if you crack the code of your console... but if you can access channels of information they cannot or gain understanding about the Matrix, it is their goal to stop you. Using this definition a detective or investigative journalist or even a historian can be "hackers."

One of the Agents' primary tasks that we don't explicitly see in the film is to control the flow of information. They do this to maintain current level of technology and society inside the Matrix. They are also responsible for maintaining the illusion where ever it might break down.

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Example Tactics

- Is your Advisor an Agent? Where does advancement often come from? Largely it comes from academia, but genius normally does not strike overnight. Often it precipitates from years of study and focus on a single subject. If an innovation comes otherwise, it is often not considered credible. So, for an Agent, a useful way of screening technological advancement is to have access to every thesis written at the graduate level in the appropriate fields. Anytime a red flag goes up, the life of the student is suddenly terminated or destroyed (they become totally discredited or distracted) or simply monitored to stop any breakthroughs.

- Agents control the media. How they control it is up to you, but basically nothing goes to print, the screen, or anywhere really unless it's been Agent approved. All media IS largely controlled in the real world, just not by one force, in the Matrix, Agents are behind everything.

- Agents control the communications. Imagine if everything you did on the internet was monitored and moderated. This is why hackers are the most likely candidates for rescue and a thorn in the side of the Agents, because they circumvent the normal channels of information undetected. They are able to get at some of the information the Agents try to censor.

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Objections

In the Postulates section we said that the Machines are not omniscient. We still maintain that. We don't believe they know EVERYTHING, but are placed in or observing key positions to maintain the illusion necessary. Another protest is that Neo's actions in the beginning- searching for Morpheous- should have been traced (even as terrorists and pedophiles are traced today). We choose to believe that his searching tool is an untraceable hack.

Another significant problem is Smith's belief that Zion holds the key to his freedom. If this is theory is true, then the destruction of Zion would not free him from his duties of maintaining the illusion. Unless Smith has ulterior motives (is literally trying to run away to the Zion Mainframe to escape his duties) or has been told he can "retire" after this task.