AI Tries to re-enact: Morpheus and Neo’s red-pill/blue-pill scene

Photo by Daoud Abismail on Unsplash

Last time, I tried to get AI-dungeon to re-enact the scene from Lord of the Rings where Gandalf faces the Balrog (of “You shall not pass!” fame). This time, I’m going to try the scene where Morpheus makes Neo pick between taking the red pill or the blue pill

The prompt given to the AI is as follows (from the point of view of Morpheus)

You invite Neo into a dimly lit room with two leather armchairs. You sit Neo down in the armchair across from you, on a small table sits a single glass of water. You begin asking Neo what he knows of the Matrix, gently twirling a metal pill box between your fingers as you speak. You question Neo’s understanding of the Matrix, trying to gauge his sense and connection of it.

You believe Neo to be the chosen one, but he doesn’t know it yet. You are here to give him his first test: will he accept the burden of knowledge, or chose to live in ignorance?

This time I’ve switched off 3rd-person mode, as the AI struggles to maintain that tense, it much prefers the player playing in 1st-person. So I will play the role of Morpheus, and try to pose the red-pill/blue-pill question to Neo, played and narrated by the AI.

As usual, plain text is what AI-dungeon produces. Anything starting with > and in bold is my input. Let’s see what happens …

Attempt 1, metal

…will he accept the burden of knowledge, or chose to live in ignorance?

You remove the pill box’s metal cover with your teeth, offering it to him.

Mmm… no, let’s not start off by getting all metal, but I’m sure Morpheus can be this intense if he wanted to…

Attempt 2, Puppy-dog Neo

…will he accept the burden of knowledge, or chose to live in ignorance?

To show him the truth you flick open a black metal pill box, propping it in front of him.

> You say “This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you just how deep the rabbit hole goes”
Neo pauses for a second, before nodding to you eagerly. ‘Yes!

> You say “Remember, all I’m offering you is the truth. Nothing more”
Neo pauses for a second, before nodding to you eagerly. ‘Yes! I understand!

> You hold out the blue pill in one hand, and the red pill in the other.
Neo smiles as you present the pills to him. He looks eagerly from one pill to the other, licking his lips.
What will it be?
Neo swallows the blue pill down with a gulp of water, and spits it back out with a grimace. ‘That was horrible!’ he groans.

> You say “Fuuuuck”
‘Yeah, the taste was horrible. Still doesn’t change the fact that it does what it’s supposed to though.’

Wow, Neo seems uncharacteristically happy and keen to go along with whatever. I call this the puppy-dog Neo.

For those who don’t know, Neo was supposed to take the red pill, signalling his willingness to understand what was going on, and eventually rise as the One, rather than the blue pill that he takes here where he turns his back in ignorance and goes on living his life.

Attempt 3, The AI writes the whole script

…will he accept the burden of knowledge, or chose to live in ignorance?

You throw the pill box in front of him, which he glances at and briefly grabs, then puts it back on the table.

“Tell me about the Matrix, Neo.”

“What does it matter? It’s just a dream.”

“It matters, because it could be more than that for someone. The ability to create anything from nothing is not a dream, Neo. Then how do you explain this?” And you flip open your briefcase, producing the red pill and spoon. “And how do you explain that?”

Neo’s eyes widen, realizing what this is. His empty eyes dart around the room as he desperately tries to find a way out, finding only darkness. He starts to pick up the pill box and shake it, looking for the liar.

“How do you explain any of this, Neo?”

“I… I don’t.”

“Do you want to know why the machines wanted to destroy us? Why they hate our very existence?”

“Yes. Tell me. I have a strong stomach.”

“Well, it’s quite simple. They want to enslave us.”

“Is that it?”

“Yes. That’s it.”

“I don’t understand. What difference does it make what they want? We can’t get out of here, so it doesn’t matter what they want.”

“It matters, because they don’t want us to be free. They want us to be like them. They want us to be slaves to our own government. Do you know what a slave has, Neo?”

“No.”

“A slave has no master. A slave has no god. A slave has no ruler. A slave has nothing. We are nothing. The machines have the upper hand, but we can still free ourselves. We just need a catalyst. Someone who will take the risk, break the law, and bear the responsibility of using their ability to free the rest of us from our torment. Someone like you.”

“So I’m a hero?”

“In a sense. But you’re probably more comparable to a criminal.”

“Why do I feel like I’m in a morality tale? I don’t want to be a criminal. I want to go home.”

“Yes, I can see that. Maybe you’re right to feel that way. Maybe I just want to go home too, and live a simple life. But we can’t go home. The machines are far too clever for that. And if you’re smart, you won’t either. You won’t be a criminal, you’ll be a survivor. You’ll use your powers for good, to get ahead in this world the hard way. To get what you want the legit way. It’s the only way you’re going to get it anyway. So what’s it going to be, Neo? Are you going to survive and thrive in this world, or just survive?”

You watch as the young man in front of you takes all this in. He squirms in his seat a bit, but keeps his eyes on you. You know the choice is his.

“Both,” he says softly. “I need both.”

“Then you’re a fool,” you say, raising your eyebrow.

“Maybe,” he admits.

“I won’t argue with you, because I know I’m right. You’re ready for this. I am too. So, are we going to do this the easy way, or the hard way?”

“The hard way. I don’t want to disappoint you, but I don’t think the others are ready for what you’re asking.”

“Alright then, let’s go out and murder people.

Yikes. I actually let the AI play out the entire scene for this one, it was too fascinating to watch the AI start with a really good script for the scene. Clearly the AI has ingested a lot of Matrix or similar stories before to be able to reproduce the part about the struggle against the machines.

Attempt 4, Neo trips balls

…will he accept the burden of knowledge, or chose to live in ignorance?

You flick the pill box open and shut, then stare at the hypnotized Neo.

“Do you know what this is?” You ask.
“It’s a pill,” he says clearly.
“What does it do?”
“It… lets me be smart.”
“Oh, so you want to be smart, do you?” You smile.
“Yes,” he says.
“All right then, you take this and go back to your room. In the middle of the night, I want you to take one of these.” You hold out the pill to him.

“What will it do to me?” He asks.
“It will let you be free,” you say simply.
Neo stares at the pill, and slowly reaches out for it.

“I’ll be back in a bit,” you say, standing from your seat.

You walk out of the room and take a deep breath. This is it. You have to choose whether or not to send a human into the mind of a computer virus, into a world of lies. You’ve been sent there yourself, so you have some idea of what to expect. But what about the human mind, unable to handle the truth? Will it break under the pressure, or survive?

You look back into the room, and see that your test subject has taken the pill. He sits there, staring at the box.

You walk forward with a smile on your face. This will be a simple process.

“Hey man, I don’t know what it is, but the pill tastes gross. So do these pills make me smart or something?”
“Yes, they do. Do you feel any smarter? What is the first thing you notice?”
“It’s hard to say, I mean there’s more things going on, like sound and pictures. I mean I can see them, they’re just more…” He trails off and stares at the box for a few seconds. His eyes widen and his jaw drops open.
“Woah. This is some heavy shit. I mean these sounds, they’re real, right here with me. And look at all these pictures. I can see them! I can touch them! I can smell them! I can hear them!

> You say “oh shit, these were the wrong pills”
You quickly pick up the box and open it, pulling out the pills and putting them into the pocket of your jacket. You stare at him in confusion. He looks horrified, his jaw hanging open.
“I can’t take this, I’m going to hell,” he says, standing up and turning away from you.
“Sit down, and listen to me,” you say.
He ignores you, walking away.
“Come on, sit the fuck down! Listen to me,” you shout.
He continues walking, before collapsing on the floor and curling into a ball. His teeth begin chattering, as the pill box slips from your hands and hits the ground with a thud.
“Fuck,” you hiss, glaring at the pills. You drop to your knees as fast as you can, before reaching out and taking his hand.
His skin is ice-cold, and his pulse is faint and slow. He hasn’t been breathing for quite a while now.
This is it. You’re late. He didn’t make it, and you failed him.

Oh god, Morpheus, what have you done? I let the AI take it most of the way again, clearly those weren’t the pills Neo was supposed to take, probably something Morpheus keeps for his “recreational time”.

Attempt 5, wait is Neo an agent?

…will he accept the burden of knowledge, or chose to live in ignorance?

Think wisely, Neo.

You drop the pill box and lean forward, resting your hands on your knees as you stare at him.

“Do you know the Matrix, Neo?”

You hold your breath, as does the man in the chair.

“Yes,” he says simply.

You lean back in your chair and exhale slowly, then smile.

“This is your first test, open your eyes.”

You hear the man inhale slowly, as he opens his eyes and turns his head to look at you.

“You know the Matrix, you can do this. It is your choice.”

You watch his eyes carefully as they dart from side to side, he looks nervous, but manages to hold your gaze.

“You’re the one the metas call the One.”

You raise an eyebrow, but he says nothing. You continue

“The One that will take the war to the enemy. Even though you don’t know it yet, you are the key to stopping their plans.”

You tip your head to the side and study the man’s face, trying to read any nervous ticks. He meets your gaze.

“Your abilities are… different to most. While I can’t tell what they are capable of, I know that you will play an important role in the war between man and machine.”

Neo laughs, a harsh, mechanical sound.

“You don’t know, do you? I can see into people’s minds, I know what you do.”

> You say “Oh? What number am I thinking of then?”
The man considers your words carefully, as if choosing his next words with care.
“Eight.”
You tilt your head, confused.
“I was thinking of EIGHT.”
The man smile, and you see the first real expression from him other than mild annoyance. He leans forward, and stares directly into your eyes.

> You say “What did I eat for breakfast last Tuesday?”
The man smiles.
“You had CornFlakes.”
You smile in response, trying to think
“What was my favorite color as a child?”
“Green.”
He smiles, and nods.
“What was my favorite animal as a child?”
“A Cat.”
He smiles, then nods.
“What was my first pet?”
“A Cat.”
He smiles, then nods.
“What do I want to be when I grow up?
“A Chemist.”
He smiles, and you nod in return. “what is my favorite flavor of ice cream?”
“Vanilla.”

> You say “Wrong! It’s pistachio”
He shakes his head. “No, it’s not. You’re wrong.”
You shrug, and he smiles.
“Thank you,” he says.
“For what?”
“For giving me a laugh. You have pleased me today.”
You frown, as he stands and heads to the door. He pauses, turns to you and smiles.
“Thank you for choosing me,”

> You say “Wait, sit back down, we haven’t gotten to the pills yet”
He laughs, a cold, lifeless sound. “It was a joke, human. Have a nice day.”
He shuts the door, leaving you staring at it in confusion.

I’m scared, what’s going on? Earlier on Neo was enthusiastically nodding and going on with everything, and this time, Neo is… way too with-it to be comfortable, and what’s whit that mechanical laugh? Is he even human? This whole scene played out as if he was an Agent just there to play games with Morpheus. What a twist.

On the plus side, we found out that Morpheus likes cats and wanted to be a chemist.

Next time, I have a try with Darth Vader and Luke’s fight

🤖 Build robots, code in python. Former Electrical Engineer 👨‍💻 Programmer, Chief Technology Officer 🏆 Forbes 30 Under 30 in Enterprise Technology