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Baron von Eevl
Jan 24, 2005

WHITE NOISE
GENERATOR


Oh okay glad it sounds like that to you.

The first book also has two navigators disguising themselves as guards by wearing contact lenses. You know, these guys:

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Jewmanji
Dec 28, 2003


I don't know, there's a bunch of references to screens and stuff throughout the first books. I always took it to mean that computers with a 20th-century level of sophistication were permitted because they only allow for fairly mundane tasks, but AIs ("machines in the likeness of a human mind") are explicitly outlawed. I'd be curious if the Encyclopedia provides more detail.

Kurzon
May 10, 2013


Jewmanji posted:

"Taraza leaned forward in her chairdog and scanned the Records Relay projecting its condensed Bene Gesserit glyphs above the tabletop for her eyes only. "Darwi Odrade," the display identified the standing woman, and then came the essential biography, which Taraza already knew in detail. The display served several purposes- it provided a secure reminder for the Mother Superior, it allowed an occasional delay for thought while she appeared to scan the records, and it was a final argument should something negative arise from this interview".

Sounds like a computer to me.
From Heretics of Dune, which came out in 1984. I guess by then Frank Herbert realized that the future wouldn't make sense if all machine computers were banned.

As I understand it, in the past, human starships used AI supercomputers to navigate foldspace, but then the war with the machines happened and AI was banned by religious decree, so human switched to navigators and became dependent on the spice for interstellar travel. It's a premise that I'm skeptical of. No real-world religion bans technology. I imagine a religion that tried to ban something as useful as supercomputers would get cast aside quickly once humans got over the emotional trauma. Religions are usually shaped by the practical requirements of the cultures that spawn them.

Kurzon fucked around with this message at 16:59 on Sep 19, 2021

Jewmanji
Dec 28, 2003


I guess I always imagined that the type of probabilistic computations that mentats and navigators are doing is so far beyond what a computer in 2021 can conceive of that things like pocket calculators aren’t really in the same domain. Like, to me it’d be like outlawing handguns under the rationale that they are outlawed by a nuclear weapons treaty.

A machine that bears the likeness of a human mind, to me, isn’t a computer doing gross arithmetic, but maybe I’ve misinterpreted the text.

Kurzon posted:

It's a premise that I'm skeptical of. No real-world religion bans technology. I imagine a religion that tried to ban something as useful as supercomputers would get cast aside quickly once humans got over the emotional trauma. Religions are usually shaped by the practical requirements of the cultures that spawn them.

I never really assumed that the Jihad was strictly religious in nature (despite the word "Jihad"). I took it much more to be a labor uprising, like the Luddites. It probably took on quasi-religious proscriptions, but it seemed to me that it could be thought of much more like an arms treaty.

Jewmanji fucked around with this message at 17:02 on Sep 19, 2021

Kurzon
May 10, 2013


Jewmanji posted:

I never really assumed that the Jihad was strictly religious in nature (despite the word "Jihad"). I took it much more to be a labor uprising, like the Luddites. It probably took on quasi-religious proscriptions, but it seemed to me that it could be thought of much more like an arms treaty.
And likewise I bet the ban on AI wasn't effected overnight, but a gradual process of phasing out machine navigators.

The thing is, this had enormous consequences for human civilization. Many people chafe under the yoke of the Spacing Guild, which has a monopoly on navigators and therefore space travel. Surely some worlds might try to re-invent machine navigators so as to break this monopoly?

Jewmanji
Dec 28, 2003


Kurzon posted:

And likewise I bet the ban on AI wasn't effected overnight, but a gradual process of phasing out machine navigators.

The thing is, this had enormous consequences for human civilization. Many people chafe under the yoke of the Spacing Guild, which has a monopoly on navigators and therefore space travel. Surely some worlds might try to re-invent machine navigators so as to break this monopoly?

Well IIRC Leto II was regularly getting intelligence reports stating that IX was trying to do just that.

Wizchine
Sep 17, 2007

Television is the retina
of the mind's eye.


Jewmanji posted:

"Taraza leaned forward in her chairdog and scanned the Records Relay projecting its condensed Bene Gesserit glyphs above the tabletop for her eyes only. "Darwi Odrade," the display identified the standing woman, and then came the essential biography, which Taraza already knew in detail. The display served several purposes- it provided a secure reminder for the Mother Superior, it allowed an occasional delay for thought while she appeared to scan the records, and it was a final argument should something negative arise from this interview".

Sounds like a computer to me.

Sounds like a microfiche to me.

Failed Imagineer
Sep 22, 2018


Wizchine posted:

Sounds like a microfiche to me.

A microfiche reader that identifies the person in front of it and then supplies the relevant information about them? No, that's a computer, don't be like this, this is a sensible thread

Jewmanji
Dec 28, 2003


I just find it laughable the assumption that this world has city-sized starships capable of doing interstellar travel all without a single computer onboard. I don’t think that’s what Herbert intended. The world seems much more plausible to me if you have crude computers akin to what we had in the 20th century than no computers at all. Again, this doesn’t obviate the need for mentats and navigators etc

Shanty
Nov 7, 2005

I Love Dogs


They are able to do some ridiculous thing with non-computer tech, so I don't think it's too ridiculous to assume that this is meant to be something like that.
For instance, the training dummy thing Alia fights in Messiah fights so well you could kill yourself with it by going too high on the light scale, but is apparently just run with "servomotors". If it was actually a fighting AI in there it would be INCREDIBLY haram so it just isn't.

Crespolini
Mar 9, 2014



Jewmanji posted:

I just find it laughable the assumption that this world has city-sized starships capable of doing interstellar travel all without a single computer onboard. I don’t think that’s what Herbert intended. The world seems much more plausible to me if you have crude computers akin to what we had in the 20th century than no computers at all. Again, this doesn’t obviate the need for mentats and navigators etc

I can't see that the plausibility of it was ever a concern.

Pedro De Heredia
May 30, 2006


Kurzon posted:

Well for what it's worth, here's the analysis. This guy sounds like he knows what he's talking about.

You could argue the Atreides are arrogant, but Piter, who comes up with the plan, also seems to think it's a big deal: "It's assumed that ultimate conditioning cannot be removed without killing the subject. However, as someone once observed, given the right lever you can move a planet. We found the lever that moved the doctor." So does Feyd: "he found this a fascinating subject. Everyone knew you couldn't subvert Imperial Conditioning!" and the Baron seems to think it's at least somewhat impressive: "that was how we bent the Imperial Conditioning. You couldn't endure seeing your Bene Gesserit witch grovel in Piter's pain amplifiers." So at a certain point you'd just be arguing that everyone in the novel is a moron. Or everyone is lying to each other and therefore the reader... but you can make the text say anything if you dismiss it that way.

Its really just an execution problem, Herbert could have come up with a more specific set of circumstances, like some kind of logical trap, but he didn't.

Pedro De Heredia fucked around with this message at 20:44 on Sep 19, 2021

Mulva
Sep 13, 2011
It's about time for my once per decade ban for being a consistently terrible poster.

"I can't believe they don't just <blank>" is explicitly the point of the entire loving setting. That's why they are stagnating. One of the signs that the Golden Path is starting to work is when all the various factions start doing all that poo poo. Building artificial navigators and using more advanced technology and all that other stuff. It's not a bug, it's a feature. You are supposed to think it's all kind of silly and broken [Also profoundly alien, even for the mid 60s] that they've replaced modern technology of 'our' [Again, mid 60s] time with super-humans. They'd rather build a giant fishman in a tank than use a loving computer. They are out there.

Libluini
May 18, 2012

I gravitated towards the Greens, eventually even joining the party itself.

The Linke is a party I grudgingly accept exists, but I've learned enough about DDR-history I can't bring myself to trust a party that was once the SED, a party leading the corrupt state apparatus ...


Grimey Drawer

Jewmanji posted:

I just find it laughable the assumption that this world has city-sized starships capable of doing interstellar travel all without a single computer onboard. I don’t think that’s what Herbert intended. The world seems much more plausible to me if you have crude computers akin to what we had in the 20th century than no computers at all. Again, this doesn’t obviate the need for mentats and navigators etc

If you go further back, you have stories with starships with "computers", that is, big rooms staffed with people doing calculations. Just a bunch of normal engineers, sitting there, pen in hand, writing out calculations. Is that better or worse than having no real machine computer? :v:

AlternateAccount
Apr 25, 2005
FYGM

So we are just dismissing the failson novels where the Butlerian Jihad involved wars against Terminators?

Mulva
Sep 13, 2011
It's about time for my once per decade ban for being a consistently terrible poster.

AlternateAccount posted:

So we are just dismissing the failson novels where the Butlerian Jihad involved wars against Terminators?

I mean it's the safe thing to do, yeah.

Jewmanji
Dec 28, 2003


Mulva posted:

"I can't believe they don't just <blank>" is explicitly the point of the entire loving setting. That's why they are stagnating. One of the signs that the Golden Path is starting to work is when all the various factions start doing all that poo poo. Building artificial navigators and using more advanced technology and all that other stuff. It's not a bug, it's a feature. You are supposed to think it's all kind of silly and broken [Also profoundly alien, even for the mid 60s] that they've replaced modern technology of 'our' [Again, mid 60s] time with super-humans. They'd rather build a giant fishman in a tank than use a loving computer. They are out there.

Again, I think stagnation is a perfectly understandable concept that doesn't preclude them from having computers. Like, aren't there even satellites that the Fremen are hiding from (or they're paying off the Guild not to reveal that they've discovered the nascent terraforming initiative at the poles)? They're not in the stone age.

Arglebargle III
Feb 21, 2006


Jewmanji posted:

Well IIRC Leto II was regularly getting intelligence reports stating that IX was trying to do just that.

Yeah this was a pretty major plot point. He was monitoring their progress and only keeping up the appearance of suppressing them. Ixian navigator machines seem like something Leto would want to happen.

Prolonged Panorama
Dec 21, 2007
Holy hookrat Sally smoking crack in the alley!





There's also the heavy implication that them working on a navigator is preventing or diverting resources from the work that would lead to the out-of-control humanity-ending killing machines Siona sees in her vision.

Lutha Mahtin
Oct 10, 2010

Your brokebrain sin is absolved...go and shitpost no more!


Kurzon posted:

From Heretics of Dune, which came out in 1984. I guess by then Frank Herbert realized that the future wouldn't make sense if all machine computers were banned.

As I understand it, in the past, human starships used AI supercomputers to navigate foldspace, but then the war with the machines happened and AI was banned by religious decree, so human switched to navigators and became dependent on the spice for interstellar travel. It's a premise that I'm skeptical of. No real-world religion bans technology. I imagine a religion that tried to ban something as useful as supercomputers would get cast aside quickly once humans got over the emotional trauma. Religions are usually shaped by the practical requirements of the cultures that spawn them.

many religions have banned and restricted technologies, both throughout history and in the present day

AnEdgelord
Dec 12, 2016



Kurzon posted:

From Heretics of Dune, which came out in 1984. I guess by then Frank Herbert realized that the future wouldn't make sense if all machine computers were banned.

As I understand it, in the past, human starships used AI supercomputers to navigate foldspace, but then the war with the machines happened and AI was banned by religious decree, so human switched to navigators and became dependent on the spice for interstellar travel. It's a premise that I'm skeptical of. No real-world religion bans technology. I imagine a religion that tried to ban something as useful as supercomputers would get cast aside quickly once humans got over the emotional trauma. Religions are usually shaped by the practical requirements of the cultures that spawn them.

My dude have you ever heard of the Amish?

sean10mm
Jun 29, 2005

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, MAD-2R World


AnEdgelord posted:

My dude have you ever heard of the Amish?

Or creationism?

Paolomania
Apr 26, 2006



Baron von Eevl posted:

Oh okay glad it sounds like that to you.

The first book also has two navigators disguising themselves as guards by wearing contact lenses. You know, these guys:


I'm hazy about the details - wasn't there a whole levelling hierarchy to navigators, with the spice gas entombed ones at the top? Or was that a Lynchism?

Baron von Eevl
Jan 24, 2005

WHITE NOISE
GENERATOR


I only read the first four books, but the first book describes them as totally normal people and the second book describes them as weird fishmen in a spicetank, but that giant floating dude is 100% Lynch.

Miss Mowcher
Jul 24, 2007



Jewmanji posted:

I just find it laughable the assumption that this world has city-sized starships capable of doing interstellar travel all without a single computer onboard. I don’t think that’s what Herbert intended. The world seems much more plausible to me if you have crude computers akin to what we had in the 20th century than no computers at all. Again, this doesn’t obviate the need for mentats and navigators etc

But there are computers, no?
They’re explicit against some kinds of AI (those equivalent to human thought - “true AI”) so all the stuff we do today (and more) would still be fair game.

Jewmanji
Dec 28, 2003


Right, yes, if you read my posts that's exactly what I'm asserting.

AnEdgelord
Dec 12, 2016



This is from the glossary of the first book

quote:

Jihad, Butlerian: (see also Great Revolt)-the crusade against computers, thinking machines, and conscious robots begun in 201 B.G. and concluded in 108 B.G. Its chief commandment remains in the O.C. Bible as "Though shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind"

There are no computers in the first three books, they only start appearing in God Emperor after Leto begins implementing the Golden path, this is literally from the books

porfiria
Dec 10, 2008


Herbert explicitly said Windows 95 was just at the edge of legality in Dune, but Windows 98 was banned.

Martman
Nov 20, 2006

SEXY... defines my posts and my ride


Part of Herbert's big statement about grand movements is that they become runaway freight-trains and it doesn't necessarily matter what the original intent was.

Like, whatever initial reasons justified the backlash against AI, once it becomes The Jihad of course it's gonna result in angry mobs smashing calculators with baseball bats.

Baron von Eevl
Jan 24, 2005

WHITE NOISE
GENERATOR


porfiria posted:

Herbert explicitly said Windows 95 was just at the edge of legality in Dune, but Windows 98 was banned.

Thou shalt not make a computer in the likeness of a human mind, nor one that can support a serial bus that can be used for keyboards, mice, and printers all universally.

Kurzon
May 10, 2013


AnEdgelord posted:

My dude have you ever heard of the Amish?
And there aren't very many Amish around, aren't there? It's not exactly a very popular way of life, is it?

Martman
Nov 20, 2006

SEXY... defines my posts and my ride


In the world of Dune the Amish might run a whole planet or something, proportionally.

Kurzon
May 10, 2013


Martman posted:

In the world of Dune the Amish might run a whole planet or something, proportionally.
I know you're just joking, but I'll say that human societies (and everything in general, really) don't function the same way at different scales. A society of 10 billion people is not going to resemble a society of 10 million people, nor a society of 200 people. Size matters, things of different size work differently.

Gresh
Jan 12, 2019



really cool the US is getting this a full month after Europe

I guess the trade off is that we get to watch it for free at home

Gargamel Gibson
Apr 24, 2014


That Jamis guy was such an idiot. I bet he felt like a total dipshit when he died.

Drone
Aug 22, 2003

Incredible machine
:smug:



Part of the allure of Dune is that this universe-spanning society 8000 years from now is utterly alien in how it functions, stop trying to inject weird 21st century concepts like "b-but you can't live without computer!" into it.

The setting has explanations for it that are weird and make no sense (Mentats, spice-addled Navigators) to us, the modern human viewer, for a reason. Because it makes the setting weird and cool and foreign to our current understanding.

"But you can't possibly run a starship without a computer" -- no dude, that's what the sick-rear end weird genetic mutants with the nictating eyelids and the sappho-stained lips and the big chonky dudes in the floating tanks/space suits filled with spice gas are for.

Hodgepodge
Jan 29, 2006




I kind of interpret the "machine mentality" that the jihad was against as not only AI, but industrialization, mass production, and capitalism. But it wasn't a communist uprising, so the result was a techno-feudalism where exploitation using many of those tools occurs piecemeal but the model is generally a colonial, or at best feudal relationship with semi-slave producers and in some cases guilds (as we see on Dune with spice harvesting) and a mercantilist economy. “Arrakis is a one-crop planet. One crop. It supports a ruling class that lives as ruling classes have lived in all times while, beneath them, a semihuman mass of semislaves exists on the leavings…”

e: 8000 years? Dune is set a bit more than 10,000 years after the Jihad. In the original Dune Encylcopedia (not "cannon" but better than the timelines based on Herbert's kid's crap) the founding of the Spacing Guild shortly after the Jihad is 0 on the calendar and we're writing this at 14500 or so Before Guild.

Hodgepodge fucked around with this message at 07:02 on Sep 20, 2021

Kurzon
May 10, 2013


Gargamel Gibson posted:

That Jamis guy was such an idiot. I bet he felt like a total dipshit when he died.
The duel felt so cliché. Paul runs into some Injuns in the desert, they think he's a pussy, so to earn their respect he must beat one of them in a duel.

fatherboxx
Mar 25, 2013



AlternateAccount posted:

So we are just dismissing the failson novels where the Butlerian Jihad involved wars against Terminators?

Wiki synopsis of the failson books gave me an aneurysm, they sound worse than bottom barrell Star Wars EU

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Alchenar
Apr 9, 2008

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by

Prolonged Panorama posted:

There's also the heavy implication that them working on a navigator is preventing or diverting resources from the work that would lead to the out-of-control humanity-ending killing machines Siona sees in her vision.

Yeah whatever the Butlerian Jihad was about, it's textual that one possible future of the Dune universe is extinction by Terminator War, and Herbert explicitly links that to the risks of breaking the prohibition on AI.

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