March 28, 2022

The Technology of Dune

The Technology of Dune

In celebration of our hundredth episode, we geek out about the new Dune movie and the technology that makes the universe special.

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Ryan Purvis 0:00
Hello, and welcome to the digital workspace works Podcast. I'm Ryan Purvis, your host supported by producer Heather Bicknell. In the series, you'll hear stories and opinions from experts in the field story from the frontlines. The problems they're facing, how they solve them. The areas they're focused on from technology, people and processes to the approaches they took, that'll help you to get to grips with the digital workspace inner workings.

Heather Bicknell 0:30
How's your week so far? How are you doing?

Ryan Purvis 0:33
We're packing so it's

Unknown Speaker 0:33
busy. Yeah.

Ryan Purvis 0:38
We've packed attack two bags, I had one backpack back while ago, and I'm on my food bag. And that's about five kilos overweight. So I need to cut that down. Most of its books, so I'm gonna have to take some books out, unfortunately, old books, so we want to keep them preserved or want to stop family heirlooms, whatever. They're really good kids books. They're better. They're quite valuable, in many ways. So yeah. So that's, that's the fun at the moment. And then just trying to organize the logistics of moving. It's nice going that side because everything's set up. But it's still the closing off of loose ends on the side. And technology is helping a lot, you know, being able to cancel things through apps as opposed to phone calls and sending in silly forms and stuff like that. Makes a big difference.

Heather Bicknell 1:22
Yeah, I remember when the airlines came out with their mobile apps. And that was such a, a better experience and having your past on your phone and managing all of that.

Ryan Purvis 1:34
You say that, but that's funny enough, one of our stressful areas because when tickets more than a year ago. In fact, it's I don't know, when he bought them, he bought them October 2020 2020. We can't change our tickets at the moment because they're so old, that they're no longer in the system. They've been aged out. And I rebook them for the first we want to fly the second now. And that's creating a huge problem, because I have to go and find what the fee was back in October 2020. to recalculate where I have to pay and, yeah, it's not the technology that you think it is. It's amazing. And I suppose the data volumes I deal with makes sense. But you also think, well, if you did the update last week, why haven't you kept the record in for this week? Because surely, it's going to be used again.

Heather Bicknell 2:30
Yeah, no, now I'm curious. So we had actually planned a flight, and then cancelled in March, you know, when everything shut down because of COVID. So we've had like these credits, that we just kept pushing out until eventually the day we take a flight again, and I'm wondering how that's all gonna get managed when that day finally arrives. Fun time we live in.

Ryan Purvis 2:56
Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Heather Bicknell 2:59
But yeah, this is. This is the big episode 100. We have made it to this milestone. So we have,

Ryan Purvis 3:10
we have, I did want to watch the movie again. Which which we wanted to talk about. But I haven't got the as you may have guessed, but it's fine. It's still my brain. So we could

Heather Bicknell 3:24
I did. I had it on in the background. Last night. And when I took a bunch of notes, because what I really thought would be interesting for us to talk about are some of the technology in the reverse. So yeah, Episode 100, we decided we're going to discuss do starting kind of with the recent student film that we were, you know, anxiously waiting on for so long. And then I thought we could dig into some of the unique and creative applications of technology and kind of what technology means in the gene universe. But yeah, I'd love to hear I know it took you a while to get your hands on it. So what did you What was your impression of the new do some?

Ryan Purvis 4:09
Well, well, maybe first, let's talk about that. So the first thing is I had to pay for it. I paid about 16 pounds to watch it on Apple on Apple TV, only to have it a week later. And that was a rental only for the week later to become an own I couldn't buy for 16 pounds. So I was a little bit irritated by that. But I thought the movie was really good. I thought that they covered the story really well. I think we mentioned this before when I read the book, I found the book very difficult to read. And because of the language that the author used, it's a little bit early to say all the English but it's just a funny version of English. But I think the movie kept to the story so well. And even though I read the book, probably a year and a half ago, watching the movie, I was like oh yeah, that's that part. I can understand this, etc. So I was able to do When the dots pretty, pretty well, and I think that cost the characters really well. So they all fitted what I had in my mind for who the who the characters were. Generally speaking, I think it was one or two or maybe 5050. But for the most part, it was a really good movie and really well done.

Heather Bicknell 5:18
Yeah, no, I I completely agree. I think the decision to split it into two movies was the right call. But for the most part, I think you're right. It's pretty spot on, especially with the you know, all the major plot elements are pretty much captured there. So yeah, I think they did a great job. And I started to watch the sequel one.

Ryan Purvis 5:44
Yeah, I mean, I really liked. I think Duncan was played by I think he was the perfect actor Johnny was name was now then. That's it? Yeah. And I'm actually, you know, when you read the book, and he dies, you feel sad. But when you see as Jason Momoa, and I've always been a fan of it, even back to Stargate days, and we won't talk about his career before that. You know, I was saying that he died as well. And even even when you get to watch the movie, today,

Heather Bicknell 6:17
probably gonna be a little spoilery today.

Ryan Purvis 6:19
But yeah, well, you got enough time to watch it. If you can get to the end fighting with Paul fights the or they call them whatever the name of the tribe is. That the Fremen Yeah, even even that was perfectly tied back to the book. And he had the same emotions of him, you know, coming through and be beating himself because that's really what he I mean, this obviously fight the word kill the warrior, but he had to beat himself to that was, you know, that was also very well acted.

Heather Bicknell 6:54
Yeah, no, I thought to me, too, shall Am I it was a good version of Paul. I still don't really buy those actors. I love the actress who played his parents, but I have a hard time buying them. I don't know, for some reason his parents. They're like, not old enough. I don't know, there's not a distance between the real actors. And that, like breaks my immersion.

Ryan Purvis 7:20
So it was a space travel. donations. Yeah, that's, that's all I just thought in my head.

Heather Bicknell 7:32
So yeah, you want to talk about some of the tech and I can give some of the unique background to why this is so special. In the Dini universe.

Ryan Purvis 7:43
Yes, I think the shields were very interesting, the personal shields, because, you know, when it when you watch the movie, read the books, they talk about fighting the sword, it's not very clear in the book, to why they're fighting and so on for a while. And then, when you look at them fighting in sort of the first third of the movie, and you see that the shield can can deflect against a fired weapon versus a slow moving weapon. And that's where the swords come in. And, and they're able, and as they show how they get through the shield. I thought that was quite an interesting picture of what technology could be available.

Heather Bicknell 8:27
So two things there. I think there's this backdrop to the whole dune universe that many centuries, in the past, humans had their big war with machines with AI. So AI computers, like digital stuff doesn't really exist in the universe, because that's all been banned. After that, you know, revolution uprising that happens, you know, in the distant past. So that's kind of an interesting backdrop to the technology in the setting of the dune book, and then the shields are describing something that I pulled out more in my research. So there's like this gravitational effect. It's kind of not explained in detail, but it's what's behind those four shields that the fighters were that don't allow fast movement and where you have to do like a slow deliberate movement to pierce the shield. It's behind the Holtzman drive, which is the technology that lets space travel happen. And then the suspenders which are the what the bear and her Conan, where's the technology that allowed him to be suspended, but it can also just suspend other heavy things, and then glow globe, which are one of my I guess, I don't know if There's like a technology from the DC Universe that I'd love to have in my home. It's a glow glow, but it's basically just their version of a light that floats around and can follow you and stuff which, you know, kind of neat. So, but yeah, I didn't know there was this whole principle, I suppose, behind that whole group of Dune technologies. Yeah, you

Ryan Purvis 10:21
mustn't forget the Thumper. Yeah, yeah,

Heather Bicknell 10:24
that's a good one, the sulfur that creates the rhythmic pounding so that the sandworm is attracted to it.

Ryan Purvis 10:33
Yeah, I found I found that was also quite good with the music because the music most also worked with, with the landscapes and, and the rooms, as well. I mean, throughout the movie, I keep wanting to go back and get deeper into the game, and install it to play it again. Because it does bring me you know, one of the nice things about the book is it's so well conceived with the different houses and and the I want to say the politics of it, but there's, there's this this thing that you want to get involved. Do your play own strategy to see how you do? It is very strategic,

Heather Bicknell 11:12
was that your original exposure to Dune was through the video game?

Ryan Purvis 11:17
Yeah, couldn't remember timeline was if it was before Arctic mana conquer, I think it was before Command and Conquer and and I remember getting into and playing that. And it's quite a big thing to animate that as your 2d realtime strategy games. And picking you could pick a Conan's, or what's the blue team for terrorists

Heather Bicknell 11:41

Ryan Purvis 11:42
I trade that, then you have the green team wheelhouse. And then you had the Freeman's and then you could have the Freeman's that would be like the power, you get a certain amount of them that can help you and they and they're the only ones that get across the desert without bother the worms. And then of course, you might need to spice the whole time. And I thought also how they brought the effects of spice in to be quite a good, good thing as well, because that was never really clear. To me. The book is like cocaine or something else. And it just ties back again to what we know as economics, their supply and demand. So yeah, I think they did a good job with it.

Heather Bicknell 12:28
Yeah, watching it was my third watch through last night. And the music really stood out to me. It's just so moody. And it fits so well I think with Paul arc. And then you're right the depictions of this device, like one scene that really caught my attention. You know, it's fun watching things like when there's so much care and detail and love put into a film when you can keep watching it and pick out just the moment and think about all the work behind creating that moment. So one of them was in the distill tent. So when Jessica and Paul are running after the or her Conan's have attacked, you know, the palace they were living in, and they're on the run they're in. They're hiding in the sand in a steel plant, which is this from in technology that is a tent that gets buried in the sand, and then the tent catches your sweat. And you know, make sure that moisture isn't coming out and reclaims the water. But there's moments in there where like the camera zooms in on the like it shows the moisture moving through tubes in the tent. And Paul has a glow glow about the spices like twinkling around the globe globe. So I thought that was like a nice, it shows the it showed some of that technology from the universe. So it was also just a really subtle way like, you know, if you're a dune fan, you know, that's kind of all that's happening in the background as well.

Ryan Purvis 14:03
Yeah, it's actually another piece of technology we didn't talk about, which is the is the moisture capturing suits that they were and how that's important too. And water is the lifeblood, the really, really valuable thing. So the Freeman's don't see the spices valuable. But they see the water as the most valuable thing. And even when poor kills the challenger. They drain all his blood for the liquid, because that's the important cultural thing.

Heather Bicknell 14:33
Yeah, now there's still students. I think, if I could own a piece of technology from the Dean universe, this could be up there for me. You know, the suit that's been developed that is basically like, what a tight fitting suit over yourself so that you only lose a thimble full of water a day is what they say. But yeah, I mean, it's a crucial bit of technology to allow them to live in this hot, you know, unrelenting. desert with no moisture. And obviously a crucial part of the the dune films. One thing that I like about, you know, the technologies in this universe of films there. So there's it's a combination of phi phi. And this is a different version of sci fi because you have this backdrop of, it's not digital, it's not computers, it's not AI, which is where a lot of high sci fi or you know, more scientific versions tend to go. But because that doesn't exist here, you have more creative depictions of things like

Ryan Purvis 15:40
skill sets. Yeah, no, exactly. It's also interesting how it's a lot of the I mean, a lot of futuristic shows always show, you know, huge, huge technology advances, advances. And you don't see much of that unless, as you say, but also what you do see is a general level of basics that they all have, they all have the same level dependent doesn't matter which house they're on. They've all got starships, they've all got, you know, they all work inside an empire, and the weapons are all the same, you know, generally speaking, so there's some level of shared knowledge. Now what what the game had, is that there were obviously parts with which each house had their own speciality. I can't remember what those were. But I think that how Conan's were known as the as the best soldiers with the best military equipment. Whereas the trainees were known more as, as political, say, managerial types, but they were more of their diplomatic corpse, and then the green house in Chicago, but they weren't put their power was, they had their own thing, which I think was harvesting. I think they were the economic force. And it's interesting how that plays out technology wise as well, because they don't have some of the protection stuff. Because, you know, this speciality isn't war, the speciality is, is something else,

Heather Bicknell 17:06
I think some of that comes back to as well the sort of supernatural powers that exist in this universe, some of which are kind of developed or brainwashed or like bred into humanity by this point. So one of them that I thought would be fun to talk about, and maybe didn't come out as much in the film. And as a bigger part of the book are mentors. So the human computers, those who have been, whose minds has been shaped to be? Yeah, exactly that humans super computers, they can calculate things very quickly, they can figure out probabilities. So each great house has their own, like family, mentor, and you see this depicted in the film, you know, he rolls his eyes back in his head to quickly calculate something. But I just think that's such an interesting idea that because we don't have, or, you know, humanity, at this point doesn't have actual computers that they have turned the human brain into a supercomputer of its own just by conditioning.

Ryan Purvis 18:16
Yeah, it's actually I remember that no preset because wasn't all been educated through all of them that during the best the sort of trip through to the side, nothing at different movies might be confused. But he's been trained by one of them. And then when he got there, he was sort of connecting the dots as he was walking around. I had this a bit about this thing. Does that sound about right? Yeah.

Heather Bicknell 18:42
Yeah. So Paul, Paul's like, you know, you think about all the different, like superpowers that exists in the movie, and Paul kind of has all of them. So that's another thing that I think it's really hard to depict NFL, and you kind of have to pick and choose what traits what special traits of Paul, you're going to show, but he was trained as a mentor as well. So not only is he this, like, you know, he has his mother's like, Mr. Cole, which like powers but also the, you know, military training from Oregon, Idaho for his father and then the super computer ability of, of the Mentats as well. So he's just like, yeah, the combination of all of the human technologies that exist in the universe, most of them anyway.

Ryan Purvis 19:41
Do you know where the second movie is coming out?

Heather Bicknell 19:43
Um, I don't i i, it might be next year or the year after? Not soon enough can't be seen enough. But yeah, I think we still are waiting a little bit. Or, you know, I don't actually I'm curious. But yeah, I hoping it soon I know. I guess the other thing I know is that they're already planning for dune Messiah as well, which is the dune sequel, which I'm, I've read about like a third of and so working my way through it but that one there directors talked about waiting until Charlemagne to maybe Charlemagne is older because Paul is older when do Maasai happen? So I think really cool what they got through another book in the series.

Ryan Purvis 20:33
Yeah, that's interesting, because there's what seven books I think there's a whole bunch of this Children of Dune as well, which is also a couple of books, I need to actually start reading them again, now that the babies are tickets. I know what the next we're going to be about.

Heather Bicknell 20:45
I guess there are a few more technologies I wanted to maybe call out as interesting or unique to this UniFirst kind of runners up here. So when are the ornithopter? So they're like helicopter vehicles that have different kind of wing.

Ryan Purvis 21:02
So is she going to action that's especially when he crashes and he's able to fly in one wing, which makes no sense. Physically.

Heather Bicknell 21:11
Yeah, I feel like because of the book, I think he talks about them as having these wings. He's like fluttering wings. And I've always thought about it as more bird like, but I liked that they were kind of dragonfly, like, in the film above, that was a cool depiction.

Ryan Purvis 21:28
Oh, I always thought them a dragonfly. Like, I think you Billy in the book that dragonfly, how would you see that could be the computer game because in the computer game, and they look like dragonglass?

Heather Bicknell 21:37
Yeah, and I think So what's another one here, the one that you see in the movie, but is a little bit more explained, I think in the book, our film books. So Paul has this film book about dune that he uses to study and learn about the world before he goes there. And it has this. So when it has like the projections of and the audio of like, you know, teaching him about dune and you learn about Arachis through, you know, watching Paul absorb the the film book, but it also has a it's called a pneumonic pulse. So instead of like a pneumonic device, like having an acronym that would help you, when you're studying, remember something, it's just like pulse that serves that need to recall information. So I just think, some books to be another cool thing to be brought to our universe as well to be a film book collector.

Ryan Purvis 22:36
I didn't remember the full book, but I don't remember the pulse piece. And it does tie into some brain therapy. Research where alpha beta and feature waves are used to determine which one does what one of them is to help you train your brain to remember things.

Heather Bicknell 22:55
Interesting, a friend

Ryan Purvis 22:57
of mine was studying for an exam and she went to a lady I went to as well, and used to put electrodes on your head, and then used to play games, and use your thought patterns to move the ball around on the screen. And it is supposed to help you as I used to come back here totally exhausted after doing it.

Heather Bicknell 23:19
Yeah, I think that's it's interesting to think about whether the technologies kind of proposed could work in today's world if they actually have any sort of scientific substance to them, or if they're just kind of creative. That is kind of interesting to think about.

Ryan Purvis 23:37
But what's something that always fascinates me about about science fiction, that's probably why I read so much of it is people that are writing these books are thinking ahead to what is possible. And if you think about some of the stuff like like, Conan Doyle, or SNL SMR, poignant, those guys that were writing books in the 40s, in the 50s, where the technology was what it was, and they were conceiving things that we actually use today, it's up specs, and you look at the original Star Trek episodes, and, you know, things that they talk about there we have already things that we don't have as well of course, it's just it's just that you know, it's one of these what I find fascinating because you you've got to concede the whole world and the usage of this thing, you know, like I can't wait for holographic screens. I can't wait for a neural link because I just think that will accelerate things drastically. I do need to run so maybe we need to tie up.

Heather Bicknell 24:39
Yeah, no card cool agree with you bots there so yeah, we can tie up here. Happy episode 100 siboto and tacos. Yep, you as well. All right. Have a good rest your day,

Ryan Purvis 24:56
getting to bang just like both Thank you for listening today's episode and the big news app producer editor. Thank you, Heather for your hard work on this episode. He subscribes the series and rate us on iTunes at the Google Play Store. Follow us on Twitter at the DW W podcast. The show notes and transcripts will be available on the website www dot digital workspace that works. Please also visit our website www dot digital workspace that works and subscribe to our newsletter. And lastly, if you found this episode useful, please share with your friends and colleagues

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