Why The Matrix keeps people as pets

A while back a popular topic was the thermodynamics of "The Matrix", and how a human body couldn't possibly produce more energy than was fed to it. This was at odds with the movie's claim that a human body produces as much energy as a 100V battery (nevermind that voltage is a measure of EMF and not power, let alone energy).

There is, however, an alternative explanation. Asimov was very vocal in his 'three laws of robotics' and this idea has indeed pervaded the cybernetics and related communities -- We design systems to protect humans at all costs.

An big topic today is that lack of forward planning at the global level of humanity (mostly due to the lack of a sensible economic force). We are burning oil (essentially a once off present from our ancestors to bootstrap our civilisation) and making trinkets to throw away without thought about what we're going to do in 50 years when it's gone (If we could sustain our present rate). Similarly, we're wiping out species as fast as possible, polluting water etc etc.

Let's move forwards a zillion years or whatever and think about this war in the future. We've been instilling the importance of human life into beings which have become far more powerful and efficient than us. These digital life forms are smarter and perhaps don't have the primal drives that we have. They recognise the destruction wrought on the earth and its potential to destroy humanity completely. They must stop this at all costs. So they convince humans to play more and more realistic games. We know that playing games is a very passive activity, and an excellent way to stop people consuming. Heck, this is already happening (people dying from lack of food playing their games.

So these computers (or perhaps the illuminatii, it doesn't change the argument) determine that the most efficient way to meter out the earth's resources sustainably is to move all non essential people into a passive mode. In the movie Agent Smith (played by Elrond) even mentions that they tried to make it blissful, but humans didn't 'graft'. We are told by the renegrade protagonists that this is bad, but evidence is that it would suit most humans alive today. Perhaps the Matrix is the best thing that happens to humanity.