Thinking Machines

The term Thinking Machines in ‘Dune’ refers to both a general concept and beings. Thinking Machines were robots created with sentience.

The Definitive Glossary for Dune

Before the Butlerian Jihad, humans created AIs so advanced that they took over the control of the universe. However, the story of the Thinking Machines started as a result of people’s laziness and overdependence on artificially intelligent mechanical devices.

Thinking Machines in Dune

The Thinking Machines of Dune Definition

The Thinking Machines are a race of artificially intelligent systems that take control over humanity before the days of the Imperium.

After the titans became Cymeks and enslaved humans, they handed over the control of their systems to artificially intelligent computer systems; this caused the machines to gain sentience and take control. With the leader of the Thinking Machines christening himself as Omnius, the Thinking Machines rule humanity for 900 years.

The History of The Thinking Machines

The Thinking Machines had a history that began as far back as 5360 BG. During this time, humanity had become an advanced interplanetary civilization due to the advent of super-advanced computers that could calculate and solve complex real-life situations like navigating through foldspace. 

The first Thinking Machines got formed by the Titans when they decided to separate their brains from their human bodies. Placing their brains inside an impenetrable canister filled with electrafluid, the Titans were able to get new mechanical bodies they could use for transport and war.

The first Titan to become a Cymek was Agamemnon, Vorian Atreides’s father. After the procedure, his lover Juno and other Titans like Dante and prince Xerxes followed suit. Xerxes, after some centuries, decided to leave the governance of his star system to artificial intelligence; this artificially intelligent entity gained sentience and became Omnius. With Omnius’s rise to power came the enslavement of the Cymeks. With every Cymek enslaved, Omnius became the machine God.

Though Xerxes and the Titans tried to take Omnius down, they were unsuccessful as Omnius had gained total control over every Thinking Machine in the known universe. He became unstoppable with his Cymek generals. During Omnius’s power surge, humans rose to fight and dethrone him. The humans got led by the League of Nobels. After Serena Butler, an avid supporter of the revolt on Earth-got captured by Erasmus, Omnius’s second in command, the League began an uprising later called the Butlerian Jihad.

The Butlerian Jihad led to the defeat of Omnius and his cohorts. Though Omnius got defeated, many humans perished, with over 10% of the population dying from the conflict.

The Thinking Machines’ Final Unification with Humanity

After Leto II gained prescience, he continued the plan of Paul, his father, by becoming a tyrant God-emperor. After his death, humans ventured into uncharted space. After thousands of years, new orders returned to the old empire seeking dominance. However, the newly created factions returned with man’s greatest enemy, the Thinking Machines. In one last battle against the Thinking Machines, Paul revealed that Duncan Idaho was the ultimate Kwisatz Haderach. Omnius gets banished to another universe by the Oracle of Time, and Erasmus hands over the Evermind code to Duncan before dying a peaceful death. After the final defeat of the Thinking Machines, Duncan assumed rulership over both humans and machine kind.

Glossary Terms Associated with the Thinking Machines

Here is a list of words associated with the Thinking Machines:

  1. Orange Catholic Bible: The Orange Catholic Bible is a religious script that survives old Earth and gets used by humans after the Butlerian Jihad. It is a fusion of all religious texts in the known universe.
  2. Evermind: This is the title given to the Omnius, the leader of the Thinking Machines. Omnius was the collection of many artificially intelligent entities spread out across the universe. The collective name for the entities that made up Omnius was called the Evermind.
  3. Titans: The Titans were a group of humans who wanted to change society to improve the old empire but ended up becoming brutal warlords and Cymeks who lived for thousands of years.
  4. Synchronized Worlds: The Synchronized worlds are the planets governed by the Thinking Machine leader, Omnius.


What are the Thinking Machines in Dune?

The Thinking Machines are artificially intelligent computer systems that gained consciousness and began to think like humans. With their gain of sentience, the Thinking Machines enslaved humanity for centuries until an uprising led to their defeat.

Why are the Thinking Machines banned in Dune?

After the Butlerian Jihad, the League of Nobles decided that to prevent another occurrence involving sentient computer systems invented by humans, there needed to be a law that prohibited the use of advanced computing systems. Thus, a law that banned humans from creating machines in the likeness of the human mind got enforced.

Are there aliens in Dune?

No, there are no aliens in ‘Dune.’ While creating the novel, Frank Herbert removed the idea of Aliens as the book mainly focused on humanity and mechanization. ‘Dune’ eluded the idea most science fiction novels had in the 1960s and made something related to ecology, religion, and politics.

Does planet Earth exist in Dune?

Yes, Earth existed in ‘Dune.’ After the titans got dethroned by the Thinking Machines, they got enslaved along with all of humanity; this lasted for centuries. With the Thinking Machines in control of the universe, humans got enslaved. After the revolt by humans, the Thinking Machines got destroyed. However, many worlds got annihilated in the war, Earth included.

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