So what do the eldrae make of the idea of “useless machines”?
The most famous example, of course, being the machine whose sole purpose, once turned on, is to turn itself back off. (Like so: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z86V_ICUCD4 )
Insert usual disclaimer about the reliability of capsule summaries of the opinions of over a trillion sophonts.
Well, for a start, they aren’t “useless machines”. Useless machines manifestly fail to work properly. These are “amusing mechanical follies”, like Rube Goldberg designs, which are… amusing. Also decorative.
(The ur-example of the class *there* is actually a Precursor artifact, nicknamed “The Uncrater”, a black-box widget whose sole function appears to be declining to be packaged up in the current local language, then quietly disintegrating any packaging material used to attempt to do so.
You’ll find it indexed under “Amusing Mechanical Follies”. Also under “Suspected Precursor Practical Jokes”, and “Seriously, Guys, What The Hell?”)