What ‘Dune’ teaches us about human achievement and the dangers of AI

News & Politics

One of the superb concepts of “Dune” that didn’t make it into the movie was the Butlerian Jihad. This is not the jihad that Paul commences, but rather an event long in the past that had drastic implications for the universe of Dune. In short, the Butlerian Jihad was a war on AI and thinking machines (computers). The jihad was incited by a machine decreeing an abortion, and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Humanity was already on the verge of being replaced, but when machines were beginning to determine who lived and died, mankind was losing its sovereignty as well.

This crusade against thinking technology strikes at looming questions that grow bigger in our lives by the day. We outsource our energy and capabilities to a tool whenever we use technology. Typically, this is well and good. An axe is far more efficient at splitting wood than attempting to do so with one’s hands, and this frees up a person to spend his energies elsewhere.

But as technology advances, we perpetually outsource ourselves to the devices around us. When we create a car, we use a device to substitute our legs. Again, this is good, as it allows far more efficient travel. But what happens when technology is entirely substituting the human individual?

Now, I am not necessarily referring to the AGI, but what happens to vast chunks of the population when a machine can do everything they can but better? What happens when we have created tools that have abolished the need for men? We made tools to serve us, but now they have replaced us. Is that a good thing? Can technology advance too far? Can we even stop technology from advancing? Huge numbers of people can no longer effectively live without modern transportation. Can we return? Should we return?

“Dune” presents us with a theoretical world where technological progression has been halted. And while it’s far from a perfect world, I think it’s a better, wiser one than we have now. Technology is not necessarily good because it is advanced. It needs to justify itself. I think we need to adopt an attitude of skepticism, certainly given the current state of the modern world. We may be in a better material position, but with skyrocketing rates of mental illness, drug abuse, and suicide, something has clearly gone wrong somewhere.

And I don’t think it’s terrible to refrain from technology that makes your life easier at the cost of your competence. You’ll never be a great artist if you rely on inputting prompts into an AI generator, and you’ll never be a talented writer if you exclusively use ChatGPT. Those skills have to be developed and refined the hard way. Otherwise, you’re just like everyone else using AI generators and ChatGPT.

In “Dune,” this type of person is called a mentat. This individual is a social adaptation to the lack of computers and advanced algorithmic calculators. Much like a savant, mentats can perform almost impossibly complex computations in their heads in only a few seconds.

Screenshot from Youtube

Now, that power is probably infeasible for us, but the concept is ever-present in our lives. If you want to be physically fit, you have to actually exercise those muscles. Refraining from technology that substitutes for your muscles is one method of gaining strength. And with strength, you gain a little control as well. Now, you are not relying on devices that break down or malfunction. It’s all on you.

That principle extends to nearly every facet of life. With careful restraint, you can develop within yourself all that unrealized potential you are wasting away. The human being was not made to be at rest. Human beings were made to do work, and it is only through work that a person becomes truly remarkable.

However, the most important lesson of the Butlerian Jihad is that it presents a world where humanity has regained control of itself. We often think our lives are insignificant specks in the grand scheme. After all, what can one man do against the march of progress? If you have problems with where the world is heading, how could you fix things, especially when you are one among billions?

But “Dune” presents a more hopeful outlook. We can take back control in our lives. We can say no to our desires and appetites to build ourselves up. We can say no to the march of the world. And I think that is an inspiring thought.

Articles You May Like

Christian pastor in Israel tells Tucker Carlson “brutal” Israeli occupation of Palestine must end
Fetterman tells anti-Israel protesters blocking traffic doesn’t help their cause: ‘It just makes you an a**hole’
The Morning Briefing: RFK Jr.’s X Factor Cred Is Picking Up Some Steam
DeSantis signs measures targeting child predators
Intelligence employee admits FBI was behind Alex Jones lawsuit and agents were in the crowd on January 6

Leave a Comment - No Links Allowed:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *