leagued wrote:Kobat: "We are attempting to make a mechanical amplifier of... those Guild navigational techniques which presently rely on melange."
Siona: "In this room we call him the Worm," Siona said. "What would your machine do?"
Kobat: "You are aware that the Guild Navigators require the spice before they can see the safe path to traverse?"
Siona: "You would replace the navigators with a machine?"
Kobat: "It may be possible."
Also, I used the first quote because it shows that Leto is surprised by the Ixian development of a navigation machine, which he wouldn't have been if it was something that had already existed. Kind of like how he wasn't surprised about Omnius... (sorry, off track)
In case I missed something elsewhere, is there any evidence or clues that point toward the Old Empire employing navigation machines before Guild navigators?
Ok, lets look at this from the perspective of post Butlerian Jihad Duniverse, all forms of thinking machines are banned or destroyed and the 3 great schools are instigated to replace their lost functionality.
If the pre BJ navigator machines were purely number crunchers would that not have been a field for the Mentats to occupy, no the humans of that time decided to evolve a select few into linear prescients to replace the computers of pre BJ times. Recall the chief commandment from the Orange Catholic Bible, "Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind", which makes me think there was true machine sentience and where there is sentience prescient can follow it would most likely be a quicker process as machine can self design/evolve much faster than humans.
Also your assumed reasoning to explain his surprised state is flawed, He didn't see it coming as the redevelopment was carried out in a no-field, and If prescient machines were a completely new invention I feel even LetoII would have been more that merely surprised.