Dune has been able to successfully transport us to a wholly new world of stories and characters with the most interesting world-building. The movie is based on Frank Herbert’s seminal masterpiece that deals with the story of the House Atreides. This is amongst the league of some of the best adaptations we have been able to witness over the years in the sci-fi genre. Denis Villeneuve, the director of the project made sure that the universe he created was something marvelous and it remained in our heads post-viewing. One of the major parts of world-building has to be associated with the things that were present around the world. These contribute majorly in giving us an idea about what we are witnessing and how it plays a significance in the time that we have been transported to. But there are various things from the movie that have left us wondering about the events of the movie. This movie makes us wonder where are the robots and the computers in the futuristic planets of Dune.
The movie did a fair job in adapting the narrative of Frank Herbert’s Dune and this is one of the reasons that the movie is a fair success amongst the viewers. There are a lot of things that we got to witness in this world in terms of the futuristic technology it features. These things are a staple of the sci-fi books of the time that use these technological items in order to give the readers something to be fascinated about. But the movie didn’t have any robots or supercomputers that were used in it considering it is set in the future.
The story is set in the year 10191 and it is even mentioned in the very opening moments of the film. This year is way ahead in the future of the world and according to the books, this is set after the establishment of the Spacing Guild. The spacing guild is set up nearly 10,000 years into the future and this makes the narrative of the main story taking place 22,000 A.D. This story takes place quite a lot ahead in time and it seems absolute weird that there are no robots or supercomputers or artificial intelligence a part of everyday life in these worlds.
What Happened To The “Thinking Machines”?
There is a storyline that is responsible for this lack of the traditional sci-fo technologies that we have always considered to be a part of the futuristic narratives. This actually played a major role in the history of Herbert’s fictional universe. About thousands of years prior to the birth of Paul Atreides, humanity had developed “thinking machines”. These are basically computers and robots that are capable of having human intelligence. This technology did evolve over time but it didn’t end up creating the utopian society we always imagine it might have.
Frank Herbert had mentioned in the Dune timeline how artificial intelligence and other thinking machines got wiped out due to a certain set of events. These events were the devastating wars called the Butlerian Jihad. The wars were between two groups of people. One that depended on the thinking machines for various aspects of their lives and the other believed doing so was actually harmful to the human race. The latter group won and we got to see this develop into what ended up manifesting into the Bene Gesserits and the Mentats. There is a particular statement in Paul Atreides’ Dune era that plays a significant role in this establishment – “Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind.”
The prequel novels that primarily focused on these narratives were written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson and they made changes to this history of the Butlerian Jihad. This was changed into a war between humanity and an overtly evil AI called Omnius. Because the movie is based on the book one can imagine that it follows the same narrative as the book do.
So, do you think that the futuristic planets of Dune should have had more robots and computers? Let us know in the comments.