In The Matrix agent Smith says to Morpheus:

Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure.

Is this Agent Smith's assessment or is Smith being a mouthpiece for 01 (Zero-One), i.e. the central AI of the machines, who is only seen in the climax of Matrix Revolutions when Neo makes a deal to bring forth peace?

  • 6
    What is a 01(Zero-One?)?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Sep 2, 2020 at 17:08
  • @NapoleonWilson It is what you would call "central command", the AI who Neo makes his deal with in the climax of Revolutions.
    – Flater
    Sep 3, 2020 at 22:47
  • I've included that information in the question and voted to reopen.
    – Flater
    Sep 3, 2020 at 22:49
  • Thank You @Flater to clarify Dues Ex Machina is the face from Matrix Revolutions. Since Dues Ex Machina represents a mouthpiece for the 01 AI doesn't Agent Smith represent the same as he is not self aware or sentient of an AI enough to think seperately from the 01AI. Sep 3, 2020 at 23:10

1 Answer 1


I don't think Smith is a mouth piece. He's a program in the Matrix and has a specific purpose like every other program. His job is gate-keeping. Like all agents Smith ensures humans hacking into the Matrix are located and terminated. He's specifically tracking Morpheus to get to Zions location. Now this is his purpose as a program.

But unlike the others he goes out of character .. specifically in that scene where he's talking to Morpheus..

Smith is a program. Programs, in the Matrix, have a function and they perform their function. Smith seems be an anomaly. He expresses frustration like human. He wants to move on from the Matrix, from his function. He bypasses his programming to disconnect himself from communication (removing his earpiece is indicative of that). This odd behaviour is picked upon very well in the next two films.

Source - Matrix Explained

Smith has revelations, he gets frustrated, he wants to get "free", he talks of "smell". As a program he seems to tread beyond his space of operation. He clearly behaves differently from all other agents we are shown in the movie who are emotionless.

In the end of the Matrix we see Neo destroying Smith. But he returns in the second part saying this:

You destroyed me, Mister Anderson. Afterward, I knew the rules, I understood what I was supposed to do but I didn’t. I couldn’t. I was compelled to stay, compelled to disobey. And now here I stand because of you, Mister Anderson, because of you I’m no longer an agent of the system, because of you I’ve changed – I’m unplugged – a new man, so to speak, like you, apparently free.

Source - Matrix Reloaded Script

Exiles are defined as programs that disobey deletion. Smith starts off as an Exile but he's far more than that. He is a virus (ironically) in the Matrix. He is taking over everything and the Machines are helpless, they can't stop Smith.

Neo: The program ‘Smith’ has grown beyond your control. Soon he will spread through this city as he spread through the Matrix. You cannot stop him, but I can.

Source - Matrix Revolutions Script

Clearly the central AI has no control on Smith and that's why Neo's deal is honored. Back in Part 1 when he talks about being the cure, it's part of the same conversation where Smith displays un-agent-like behavior. Considering this, we can say that Smith here was acting on his own. He was not a mouth piece.

Besides, it is revealed in Reloaded that the machines already knew the location of Zion. They don't need Smith for this. The machines are the ones who set up Zion in the first place with the help of the previous anomaly (The One). Smith's conversation with Morpheus a micro event for the central AI to be controlling word to word. Smith is clearly exhibiting exile tendencies in this scene, and we can say that those are his words, his perception.

By the way ...

The surviving bots along with supporting humans find exile in a new nation they call Zero One. Zero One prospers and they develop further generations of AI. The remaining human nations suffer.

Zero-One is not the name of the central AI, it is the name of the machine city.

  • Thank You John. Smith doesn't become a rogue exile program until he is destroyed at the end of the film. He gives his assessment well before he becomes unplugged. Sep 5, 2020 at 17:19
  • Yes, he doesn't become exile until he's destroyed and I have not mentioned that he did. But he does shows tendencies much before he's destroyed. Specifically in that scene with Morpheus when he quotes the lines you are referring to. Even the other agents are wondering what Smith is up to. It's not expected behavior of their programing. Do let me know if there is any other piece to this puzzle you are looking to solve.
    – John
    Sep 6, 2020 at 5:16

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