What would “The Matrix” look like now?

All of the recent talk about matrix organizations has gotten me thinking a bit about “The Matrix” – the movie…

That movie came out in March of 1999 with an R rating.  It was therefore targeting folks born in the early 1980s or earlier.  A demographic that grew up with the popular image of computers – at least very large ones – as having “green screen” interfaces.  Despite the proliferation of WIMP GUIs in the 90s, the classic terminal screen was still a common paradigm when discussing computers.  It is also useful to remember that the web was only a few years old in popular culture when this movie was being designed – which probably started in the 1996-1997 timeframe.  A time when 56K dial-up was the common smokin’-fast access to relatively simplistic web sites.

So, the iconic visualization of “The Matrix” as a big cascade of green characters makes a great deal of sense.

The Matrix image

Since then, we’ve had the explosion of high-speed connectivity to the home and the subsequent advent of rich media websites.  By the way, mobile phones are a LOT cooler than the ones Neo & company were using, too.  In fact, I daresay my iPhone is more powerful/capable than the computer Neo had on his desk…

But as I watched the movie again with my sons, I realized that they had never really seen a green screen terminal except in a movie.  Those glowing green letters were basically as relevant/real to them as a typewriter.  The question that came to me at that point was what visualization would make sense to them?  My unscientific survey resulted in these description ideas:

  • Google or Facebook
  • A cloud.  With lightening.  And maybe some colors.
  • iPad – there’d be an app for that…
  • Video game – the guys watching would be like watching Call of Duty or Battlefield.
  • Maybe an RTS like in Age of Empires

So, there you go.  Of course, by the time the inevitable remake/sequel/reboot comes along, I’m sure we’ll have even cooler paradigms.


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