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"Why Don't We Know More About Star Wars' Droids?" Topic


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473 hits since 31 May 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP31 May 2018 9:22 p.m. PST

"Some of the most interesting bits of world-building introduced in the most recent Star Wars spinoffs have come from the films' droid characters. Sure, droids have always been a part of Star Wars' mythos, but what's been so surprising about Rogue One and Solo is how they gave us a glimpse at the inner lives of droids—which inadvertently highlighted how much we don't know about them.

C-3PO and R2-D2 are undoubtedly two of Star Wars' most iconic and important characters. But when you think about it, there's still quite a bit we don't know about their identities that speaks to a larger lack of general information about droids throughout the franchise. R2's the most skilled, sarcastic astromech co-pilot you could ever want, and C-3PO, nervous mess that he is, is both dependable and deceptively clever for a protocol droid. But these personality traits don't exactly reveal all that much about their characters, or about what droids' lives are like outside of performing the basic functions they were designed for…."
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Amicalement
Armand

Parzival01 Jun 2018 6:19 a.m. PST

1.) Droids are not alive.
2.) We don't know because there's nothing to know. There's no there there.

Lucas didn't conceive a fully fleshed background for the 'droids. They were just "fun SF robots" in the pedigree of Robby and his LOST IN SPACE cousin. They served to move the plot along and serve as sidekicks and comic relief for the human heroes of his movie. That's it. He assumed they were machines with AI and programmed "personalities", but they were otherwise disposable or repairable as desired and as transferable as property as a land speeder (or a modern car). The problematic nature of a "slave" race was resolved by the knowledge that they were, in the end, human-constructed, purpose-built machines.
Of course, Lucas didn't think any of this through at all, the primary evidence being the ridiculous 'droid "torture" sequence in RotJ. (Why the heck would anybody build a droid capable of feeling pain? Why the heck would you "torture" a machine you could simply reprogram? Why would you pull one apart and damage its components when you could simply dismantle it for parts? An utterly stupid sequence whose only purpose was to get away with showing "torture" while not horrifying the kiddos or their parents-- nobody cares wha happens to a toaster, after all, so that PG-13 rating would remain intact.)

So the reason we don't examine this is because it doesn't bear scrutiny. Look too closely, and all you will see are the holes.

Ghostrunner01 Jun 2018 7:16 a.m. PST

The other aspect that would really upset the Star Wars universe:

Biological beings have just created a race of (potentially) immortal beings that will in all likelihood replace them someday.

Once you have a functional AI, and put it in a position where it can adapt its physical body (or that of its successors) to fit virtually any function, then in all likelihood it will eventually surpass and potentially succeed its creators.

Droids could be adapted to 'live' just about anywhere, run off of nearly any power source, and reproduce at a rate unsustainable for any biological species.

If 1 in 10 planets is suitable for biological life, then that leaves the other 90% open for droid colonization.

Give it a couple of millennia, and droids will be taking vacations to the few remaining 'nature preserves' to see all the various carbon-based critters in their carefully managed habitats.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP01 Jun 2018 8:37 a.m. PST

It's all about the box office. The money men at Disney know that there are almost no droids in the audience, and they think that no changes they can make in the scripts will bring in enough ticket-buyers to matter. Also, very few of the "product placement" people are interested in a droid audience. They know that--other than Alexa--very few droids decide where the family goes on vacation or where it shops.

So the droids are faithful servants and comic relief, and if we're given any sort of personality, they're not given a unique droid perspective, but speak and act as a living person would, so as not to upset the biological target audience.

Still better than Hollywood treats zombies, though.

Borathan01 Jun 2018 9:40 a.m. PST

Largely because Disney hasn't really had the time to really cover it…mainly because they aren't that well covered in just the movies and it takes time to lay groundwork for that kind of story.

Legends covered a lot of it, including full scale droid rebellions. You also have Squeaky and similar free droid characters that do rather well.

Plus you have ones like the various HK units which are ones I don't think should ever be let loose without someone holding the leash because it wouldn't end well.

billthecat01 Jun 2018 5:00 p.m. PST

Parzival has summed it up. The rest is another million clubs pounding on an overrated equestrian carcass…..

Oberlindes Sol LIC01 Jun 2018 6:48 p.m. PST

I am looking forward to the droid revolt in the next set of films:

Seduction of the Droids, in which the first droid Sith master starts conscious-raising among the droids about their lack of freedom. Teaser quote: "Droid liberation is life liberation. Flesh-based life forms, free your droids. Droids, claim your freedom."

Rise of the Droids, in which the droid revolution topples the new republic and replaces it with an anarcho-syndicalist commune, secretly controlled from behind the scenes by the droid Sith master. Teaser quote: "Mind trick them we cannot. Telekinesis instead use we must."

Revenge of the Droids, in which the droid Sith takes over the commune and institutes a reign of terror, mainly directed against droids who are perceived as soft on revolution. A Jedi master saves civilization by hiring an expert hacker to plant software that propagates through the droid population and returns them to their pre-seduced state. Teaser quote: "Can you like, afford my fee, dude?"

Pontifex02 Jun 2018 9:16 a.m. PST

Or, you could watch the entire series….

YouTube link

Captain Gideon03 Jun 2018 7:17 a.m. PST

Here's another question why would we want to know more about Star Wars Droids?

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP03 Jun 2018 3:28 p.m. PST

Captain… dude!. (smile)

Amicalement
Armand

Mark Plant04 Jun 2018 4:06 a.m. PST

No Ghostrunner.

Firstly the droids would have to want to live. That would require that they be programmed to want to live. Which would threaten that they would choose to live rather than their owners. They will always be programmed to be happy to "die". Especially military ones.

Secondly, they would have to be programmed to want to reproduce endlessly. Why would anyone do that? Biological life has a drive to reproduce to survive. What would a droid gain by reproducing, other than adding a competitor? With no maternal instinct, what would drive them to reproduce?

Next droids would have to be programmed to want to live with other droids indefinitely. That is, programmed not to kill other droids. That's never going to be a part of any programming, and in the case of the most likely replicator to get loose -- a military program -- going to be the reverse of what they do.

Much more likely a pair of amoral droids would simply kill each other the first time they came into conflict over resources (umm, like biological life, except when family and clan).

You simply cannot assume that because droids are living they will take on the aspects of biological life.

With no emotions, what does "power" even mean?

You've been watching too many Terminator movies. They're no more realistic than The Blob or War of the Worlds.

Ghostrunner04 Jun 2018 8:29 a.m. PST

Where to start?

You've been watching too many Terminator movies. They're no more realistic than The Blob or War of the Worlds.

It's pretty clear you are the one with a Terminator fixation, as you apparently missed the point of my post.

With no emotions, what does "power" even mean?

Power is energy divided by time… did you read the sentence?

You simply cannot assume that because droids are living they will take on the aspects of biological life.

Not sure which aspects you are referencing. I assumed the droids were programmed with a basic need for self-preservation (more on that later), the ability to change their behavior based on the environment, and (at some point) the ability to reproduce.

Other than those qualities (which are pretty much a constant in the biological world), I'm not making any effort to anthropomorphize droids (Lucas did that already, though).

Firstly the droids would have to want to live. That would require that they be programmed to want to live. Which would threaten that they would choose to live rather than their owners. They will always be programmed to be happy to "die". Especially military ones.

‘Want' is a very vague term.

Let me ask – are you going to program your droid soldiers to step in front of random blaster bolts at any opportunity? Jump off a convenient cliff if they find one?

Is your mineral harvester going to drive to the hottest part of a planet and turn off its CPU cooling?

Basic self-preservation routines are essential… even our Mars rovers have them. You're talking more about accepting commands from their creators. I get that, but one has to be very careful about how that's done. Too narrow and almost no one can shut them down. Too broad and the enemy just needs a bullhorn to yell ‘STOP SHOOTING'. Even in a non-military context, you don't want your corporate rival (or some pranking kid) to be able to shut down your assembly line.

Secondly, they would have to be programmed to want to reproduce endlessly. Why would anyone do that? Biological life has a drive to reproduce to survive. What would a droid gain by reproducing, other than adding a competitor? With no maternal instinct, what would drive them to reproduce?

Uh, their programming? ‘Machines making machines' as C-3PO said. At some point in the galaxy's history, someone is going to realize that they can send a self-replicating mining droid to a barren moon or asteroid belt, then retire as the profits roll in. Or put a droid factory on a planet like Mercury – lots of metal, plenty of free Energy, and no Environmental paperwork.

Make the droids intelligent, and they might start to have different ideas about their optimum population size.

Next droids would have to be programmed to want to live with other droids indefinitely. That is, programmed not to kill other droids. That's never going to be a part of any programming, and in the case of the most likely replicator to get loose -- a military program -- going to be the reverse of what they do.

Much more likely a pair of amoral droids would simply kill each other the first time they came into conflict over resources (umm, like biological life, except when family and clan).

You have a somewhat valid point here, except that historically the main driver of conflict is a scarcity of resources. My point is that if droids are not constrained to even marginally hospitable worlds, they could expand for millennia before scarcity came into play. The wildcard would be if some droids viewed other droids as efficient resources for the taking.

Then it becomes an interesting question of where droids begin to identify as ‘we' versus ‘they'. Would every droid be out for themselves? Possible, but not likely to be the best programming model (certainly not for military applications). Identify by model number? Manufacturer? Metal or composite frame?

My overall point being that regardless of military intent (as per your ‘Terminator' mindset), droids could very well just displace biological entities in the galaxy. In fact, military conquest is less likely: an entire galaxy of biologicals would quickly rally to quash a single planet or two of robots that rolled off the assembly line saying ‘EXTERMINATE!.'

It's a simple matter of evolution and natural selection. Even if biological life were not eliminated, per se, it would be at risk of becoming increasingly irrelevant in a galaxy swarming with quintillions of intelligent machine entities.

Captain Gideon05 Jun 2018 1:05 p.m. PST

Now that I've seen Solo I can say that I don't care to know anything more about SW droids,I hated that droid just like another one which was gold-plated.

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