Oh my goodness I've just learned a thing about The Matrix that causes it to make a lot more sense: In the original script the humans were used as neural network compute clusters by the Machines and as a crucial component of The Matrix itself.
Which is why humans who were aware of the simulation could control aspects of The Matrix - their minds were part of its foundation.
Unfortunately the test audiences had trouble understanding this concept so the studio changed the human role to "batteries".
omg you can still get AOL CDs https://help.aol.com/articles/Ordering-an-AOL-CD-ROM
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