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".
@polychrome In retrospect I don't really think that audeinces really paid any attention to the battery part. It was more like "Wow cool robot" but "Wow cool trenchcoat".
So maybe they should have left it in the script.
As many times as I have heard or participated in this discussion about matrix I have never heard a single person actually acknowledge the fact that humans were batteries.
Just being "loaded into matrix" seemed enough, and nobody really cared why they were loaded.
At least that's how it was for my peers at the time. (And still)
But Russia was a crazy place. Some here still think that Matrix invented cyberpunk.