The Matrix released in 1999 depicts a dystopian future, degraded and miserable. In the film, reality, as perceived by most humans, is actually a simulated reality.
This alternate cybernetic world was created by conscious machines* to subjugate the human population. For humans unaware of their condition, their autonomy is an illusion.
We, too, are subjects deeply rooted in a matrix—an enculturating matrix—and understanding how it works is critical to our ability to manage the enterprise of our autonomy.
Of course, one way or another, we are always going to be embedded in the set of social, political and cultural conditions in which we find ourselves.