Random Thoughts

I don’t know why this happens, but sometimes strange thoughts just seem to pop into my conscious mind seemingly from nowhere.  Just recently it occurred to me that while the Matrix was certainly interesting for its scary distopian view of a future where humans are used by machines to generate energy, I couldn’t see how the whole setup would generate more energy than it took in.

While humans are endothermic, they require energy in the form of food to produce heat energy.  Further, they require a climate-controlled environment (neither too warm nor too cold) to thrive.  It would seem to me that the process of growing the food and maintaining the human in a comfortable environment would use more energy than the human generated.  And that’s not even considering the amount of power required to run the stupid Matrix itself.  Or for that matter, the energy required just to monitor the human in its pod.

Or perhaps I’m over-thinking the whole thing.  Not that I spent a lot of time on it, but obviously some part of my brain thought it of sufficient importance to chew on it for a while before surfacing it.


  1. Phelps says:

    I thought that the concept was that the bots were drawing off electrical charge from our nervous system, not harvesting the heat.

  2. I suppose that could be the case, although I still couldn’t see how it could be worth it given how little electricity we make.

    I’m definitely over-thinking things…

  3. Kevin White says:

    We have the same problem with hydrogen as a portable carrier of energy. To infuse hydrogen with energy takes more energy than what it can give back.

    CNN is running an article about a car that runs on compressed air. Great idea, but aside from the limited power and limited range, what a lot of people don’t seem to GET is that it takes energy to compress the air (inevitably, more energy is needed to compress the air than the potential energy the air then stores). Nothing is really free. Solar energy appears free and limitless, but is extremely difficult to harness practically . Crude oil is a HIGHLY concentrated form of liquid sunlight.

    I think you’re right on. The act of getting more than a negligible amount of energy from a human being would quickly consume that human being (think of how much energy a tree provides—virtually none, unless you burn it, and then it’s used up), unless you kept that human being supplied with fuel. And supplying it with fuel would surely take more energy (growing food, delivering it and water via pipes, etc.) than what it would provide. If the planet were made of human food then MAYBE it would be practical to use human beings as power transformers on a grand scale.