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Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 06:39
by Streaksy
Another thing that's bothered me from the very start of the series was, "but what the law should have been was `thou shalt not make a machine that counterfeits a human mind'".

I know it sounds incredibly nerdy, and it seems like I'm trying to project Terminators in to Dune. But the law as it "shouldn't" have been is "Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind."

To me, it seems like a hint that the machines began by counterfeiting humans. Why make such a point of saying "counterfeit" is more apt than "likeness" ??? I can't get past it. It's like the machines tricked humans, maybe replaced their leaders Bene Tlielax style. Of course it doesn't have to be as drastic as human-like cyborgs, since cyberspace and communications are vunerable to tactical interferance... Yah?

I haven't read the last book, and I don't know if any of this is ever addressed, but that early counterfeit vs. likeness thing sticks out to me. It seems a very deliberate hint. It's like "the law is that you can't make a machine that thinks, but really it should be a law against making machines that logically disguise themselves."

This forum is mega reliable and I can't wait to have my questions answered in a heartbeat as always. :P Okaaayy...... GO!

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 06:41
by Streaksy
I meant to add... it's more probably that the first independant machines came from human-made tools that replicate human behaviour to fool opposition, politically or economically or whatever.

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 09:41
by SandChigger
Is this a "Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs"? I don't think so.

It's like the machines tricked humans, maybe replaced their leaders Bene Tlielax style.

Mmmm... probably not. It specifically says "human mind".

I think "a machine in the likeness of a human mind" is way more general and a larger category than "a machine that counterfeits a human mind". Depending on how you define "likeness" or "being (a)like", you could outlaw anything from a simple calculator to a fully conscious AI. To counterfeit is to "imitate fraudulently". To me that feels much more specific: a machine intelligence that is conscious and self-aware and that "thinks" of itself as a person.

FWIW; best I can come up with on so little caffeine. :D

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 15:35
by A Thing of Eternity
It's just FH being poetic in my opinion - like Chig says it specifically says "of a human mind", not "of a human".

What about the word "likeness" makes you think of the disguise stuff? I think counterfeit would have given me those thoughts more than likeness personally.

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 15:38
by Crysknife
When people start trusting machine advice and guidance over human guidance then you have given the machine intelligence the same credibility, if not more, than a human mind. You have counterfeited the human mind. When you use that guidance as a tool to suppress other people, and/or yourself, you have fraudulently usurped your own humanity.

Whether or not the machine thinks itself human is not the point. Humans had to give that power to the machines in the first place, thus it comes back to humans using machines as tools to control others and losing thier own humanity in the process. If automated machines ever did attack humans, as they were likely to do, it was ultimately because a human told them to or programmed them to.

Machines that throw crazy parades for thier own amusement right before a battle have no place in Dune.

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 15:45
by Crysknife
Even Ship in the Pandora series by Frank and Ransom has a programmed goal that we subconsiously uploaded into him. Everything ship does is to meet that goal. Ship is a counterfiet human mind. Ship is not a security program that becomes self aware and decides to kill everyone on his own volition, or a rotten piece of circuitry that sits in a crevice and gains self awareness but just happens to be evil....you know, just because.

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 17:06
by SandRider
When people start trusting machine advice and guidance over human guidance then you have given the machine intelligence the same credibility, if not more, than a human mind. You have counterfeited the human mind. When you use that guidance as a tool to suppress other people, and/or yourself, you have fraudulently usurped your own humanity.


which is exactly what has happened with NCAA-BCS ....
(I mean, I can argue ten ways from Sunday why Alabama & LSU are
the two best teams in the NCAA, but you gotta think OK State is feeling "suppressed" ...)

>>edit to add:
and now I'll wait around for someone (Freak) to chime in & say that the machines
did pick OSU and were overridden by the sports-writers in favor of Alabama,
but you get the fucking point ...

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 17:08
by Freakzilla
SandRider wrote:
When people start trusting machine advice and guidance over human guidance then you have given the machine intelligence the same credibility, if not more, than a human mind. You have counterfeited the human mind. When you use that guidance as a tool to suppress other people, and/or yourself, you have fraudulently usurped your own humanity.


which is exactly what has happened with NCAA-BCS ....
(I mean, I can argue ten ways from Sunday why Alabama & LSU are
the two best teams in the NCAA, but you gotta think OK State is feeling "suppressed" ...)

>>edit to add:
and now I'll wait around for someone (Freak) to chime in & say that the machines
did pick OSU and were overridden by the sports-writers in favor of Alabama,
but you get the fucking point ...


It's the top of the slippery slope.

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 17:21
by SandRider
there you go, response time under two minutes ...

swear to g-d, dude, the next logical step is to just go ahead and start drinking at work ...
fix up a bourbon coffee thermos and have at it ...

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 17:24
by Freakzilla
I've never drank at or before work. I've had a beer at lunch maybe a dozen time in my life, if that.

I don't get it, what does drinking have to do with my response time?

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 17:27
by SandRider
that you, in fact, do little to no actual "work" at your place of employment ...

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 17:30
by Freakzilla
I'm probably one of the top two producers here. But think what you want.

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 17:40
by SandRider
by the time I get done typing this,
Freak will most likely responded again, but ...

some people may think my above example of "thinking machines"
screwing folks over is a might silly, or over-stated; and perhaps
it is, a bit, however, consider the real economic impact of an NCAA
school playing in the "Championship Game" .... now, understand that
I, of course, in no way support or defend the fact that this does
have "real economic impact" ... I personally believe that the money
tossed about in college & professional athletics is a sin of unbelievable
proportions, but all that's between them & the Little Baby Jesus ...

also, at this point, the BCS computer system is mostly just an overly-complicated calculator,
with tons of little tweaks to the formula that produces the rankings ... however, I think the
mentality displayed by the system is close to the issues of the Butlerian Jihad concepts ...

more than once I have heard the arguments for or against a team in terms of "that's what the computer came up",
that the rankings were "unbiased" because they were based on statistics ... if you don't like the results,
like Oklahoma State this year, you can argue against it by saying that there are "undefinable" factors the computer
can't deal with ... & etc.

or, maybe I done been drinking too much bourbon coffee, but whatever ...

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 17:41
by SandRider
Freakzilla wrote:I'm probably one of the top two producers here. But think what you want.


nice.
touchy.

mmm, soft spot ?

>>edit to add:
can this be moved from General Dune Discussion to the Butlerian Jihad forum ?

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 15 Dec 2011 19:10
by Spicelon
To take SR's point a little further, the "human" element of the BCS have allowed a computer influence that they neither understand nor control. This, they have lost their humanity.

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 16 Dec 2011 05:52
by Streaksy
That early reply about the difference of "likeness" and "coutnerfeit" I think is a bit backwards. :P

Like you (and I) said "counterfeit" implies fraud and disguise, and "likeness" implies just similarity. Both words are in the same ballpark and in many cases are interchangable but when contrasted like this... To emphasise counterfeiting (fraud, immitation, falsification) instead of likeness (vague similarity, poetic way of just saying they can think) is pretty suggestive. "Likeness" is the vague verb, not "counterfeit". "Likeness" is the obvious comparison of humans to machines (which in Herbert's time was a newer concept). And as I mentioned, the Bene Ttleilax do the facedance thang and replace (counterfeit!) key politicians, and Frank surely had a good understanding of military intelligence and vunerabilities and strong points of communication procedures, so that kind of thing was already in his creative mind.

Again, I'm not really saying I think we're talking T800s and John Connor. :P I'm saying that to make a point of that "falsify" is more apt than "work similarly to" might be important. The "Terminator" title of the post is just illustrative. I really just mean I think some Bene Ttleilax-ish method is implied by the machines, which, as I originally said, were tools of statecraft which "only allowed men with machines to enslave other men" and that could mean by political subterfuge.

Even if I'm right, its not a huge revelation. It's just a bit if implied history. If I'm right.

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 16 Dec 2011 13:52
by Crysknife
I don't think it was a newer theme in Frank's time. Samuel Butler wrote quite explicitly about machines and their likeness and dangers to humanity in 1872. Hence, the "Butlerian Jihad".

I agree Facedancers are a sort of construct, but calling them machines when they are obviously based on human stock is a bit much. So Paul himself could be considered a construct of the BG breeding program, but it would be a bit much to call him a machine. But you are saying that machines themselves were like facedancers and could replace a human without us knowing? I just don't see any evidence based on that one quote.....not against all possibilities I guess.

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 16 Dec 2011 19:26
by JustSomeGuy
Crysknife wrote:Samuel Butler wrote quite explicitly about machines and their likeness and dangers to humanity in 1872. Hence, the "Butlerian Jihad".

Well, I learned something new today. Thanks for the information.

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 16 Dec 2011 19:40
by Crysknife
JustSomeGuy wrote:
Crysknife wrote:Samuel Butler wrote quite explicitly about machines and their likeness and dangers to humanity in 1872. Hence, the "Butlerian Jihad".

Well, I learned something new today. Thanks for the information.


Sure thing. BTW, here is the book i'm talking about. It is called "Erewhon", Nowhere spelled backward :D Most of the good stuff is in the "Book of the machines" chapters.

http://www.hoboes.com/FireBlade/Fiction ... erewhon23/

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 22 Dec 2011 09:03
by Streaksy
I'm not saying machines walked among us. You're going to the extreme. I'm saying that quote looks like a hint that the machines (or the last people to exploit them for power) had that kind of edge. That one statement in the book is a whole argument that the law should be against machines posing as (or being used to pose as) humans to stop it all happening again.

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 22 Dec 2011 13:57
by Crysknife
Streaksy wrote:I'm not saying machines walked among us. You're going to the extreme. I'm saying that quote looks like a hint that the machines (or the last people to exploit them for power) had that kind of edge. That one statement in the book is a whole argument that the law should be against machines posing as (or being used to pose as) humans to stop it all happening again.


Sure, that is possible....it could have been one of many reasons. I said earlier that it could have been a possibility.

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 25 Dec 2011 12:27
by SandChigger
Streaksy wrote:I'm not saying machines walked among us.

FH in Dune wrote:computers, thinking machines, and conscious robots

I'm not convinced that "machines walk[ing] among us" is completely inconsistent with FH's vision.

I simply object to badly conceived and executed ["dictahiked" does not equal "written"!!!] shit. :hand: :naughty:

Re: Hint at Butlerian Machines being Terminator-style cyborgs?!

Posted: 11 Sep 2014 11:14
by georgiedenbro
Streaksy wrote:That early reply about the difference of "likeness" and "coutnerfeit" I think is a bit backwards. :P

Like you (and I) said "counterfeit" implies fraud and disguise, and "likeness" implies just similarity. Both words are in the same ballpark and in many cases are interchangable but when contrasted like this... To emphasise counterfeiting (fraud, immitation, falsification) instead of likeness (vague similarity, poetic way of just saying they can think) is pretty suggestive. "Likeness" is the vague verb, not "counterfeit". "Likeness" is the obvious comparison of humans to machines (which in Herbert's time was a newer concept). And as I mentioned, the Bene Ttleilax do the facedance thang and replace (counterfeit!) key politicians, and Frank surely had a good understanding of military intelligence and vunerabilities and strong points of communication procedures, so that kind of thing was already in his creative mind.


The difference between "counterfeit" and "likeness" in terms of the human mind is simple: A machine can 'seem' intelligent because it can perform calculations and tasks, but cannot have real intelligence in the way humans do because machines do not live as humans do. We are not, in short, simply calculation machines. Human intelligence isn't about computing power, it's about understanding wants and needs, and realizing how the use of will in seeking those interacts with the wills of other people seeking their wants and needs. Your wants and needs then change as a result, and so do theirs, etc to infinity. The whole issue with the KH is that he can see his own wants and needs changing the future possibilities, and when he sees those possibilities it changes his decision-making, which then changes the future again, and so on. A computer can't do this, because it has no wants, and its needs don't change over time. A machine also has no will; just a program that may be recursive but that doesn't change. The human being, himself, changes every time he interacts with his environment.

Let's look at the quote in question, though:

Dune wrote:"Right out of the Butlerian Jihad and the Orange Catholic Bible," she [Mohiam] said.
"But what the O.C. Bible should've said is: 'Thou shalt not make a machine to
counterfeit a human mind.' Have you studied the Mentat in your service?"


Mohiam is employing a double-meaning here. The first and literal meaning is that while a machine can 'pass for' an intelligence, it does not actually resemble a human mind in function or
'likeness' (i.e. design). While thinking machines might be accepted as intelligent in some sense, it would only be counterfeit intelligence, a sort of mock-up or fake version of real intelligence. Mohiam is making a dig against the types of thinking and computations machines were capable of. This leads to Mohiam's second point, which is that men themselves can employ a form of counterfeit intelligence, aka machine-logic, such as was used by machines. This, of course, means mentats, which is why Mohiam goes on to ask Paul whether he's studied Thufir. She even calls him "The Mentat in your service", rather than calling him by his name (which she surely knew) in order to make him sound like a thing or an object, like a computer device. One more dig against machine-logic.

Overall it is clear that Mohiam is denigrating both machines and machine-type thinking, and is not impressed by the humans who make it their business to try to emulate machine-processes. The point of the term "counterfeit" is that machine-logic is INFERIOR to human thinking; that machine-logic bears no 'likeness' to human thinking at all, and to suggest that forbidding making a machine in the 'likeness' of man gives the potential of machines too much credit. The point of the scriptures of the jihad was to prevent men from giving over their thinking to automated systems; in this sense it's a question of decadence and laziness, and giving up on our most important tool: our brains. Nowhere does Frank ever write that machines could achieve any kind of human-type thinking process, and so Mohiam correctly suggests that the dictum from the jihad is a bit misstated.