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The Plight of Star Wars Droids

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the george-lucas-doesn't-care-about-metal-people dept.

Star Wars Prequels 245

malachiorion writes "Does George Lucas hate metal people? I know, sounds like standard click-bait, but I think I present a relatively troll-free argument in the piece I wrote for Slate. We stuck to the Star Wars canon, pointing out the relatively grim state of affairs for droid rights, and the lack of any real sympathy for their plight from the heroes, or, it would seem, George Lucas. C-3PO is more correct than he might realize, when the says that droids 'seem to be made to suffer.'"

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Characters are created to suffer (4, Interesting)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | about a year ago | (#44054953)

Characters in stories are created to suffer through most of the plot. Droids are just a little easier to do that with in a serious way than people are, although ultimately, people are more fun.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#44055159)

Characters in stories are created to suffer through most of the plot. Droids are just a little easier to do that with in a serious way than people are, although ultimately, people are more fun.

And droids don't even get medals - after all C3PO and R2D2 went through, you'd think the Rebel Alliance would weld some insignia on their .. uh .. prominent facing trunk, for recognition. Nope, droids are just tools, to be used and thrown away. Disposable people substitutes.

But again it needs to be pointed out - these were Kids Movies and Lucas made that abundantly clear. Why are people getting so wrapped up, particularly adults, in the details?

Re:Characters are created to suffer (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055641)

Why are people getting so wrapped up, particularly adults, in the details?

Either that's a rhetorical question, or you're in the wrong place.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44055757)

Why are people getting so wrapped up, particularly adults, in the details?"

Because we just can't hear enough from you people who feel the need to interject into something you aren't interested in just to tell other people they shouldn't be interested in it.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (4, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about a year ago | (#44055763)

Not only don't they get medals, but both they and Chewbacca had to appear in-character in-costume for George Lucas' AFI Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony... They didn't make Carrie Fisher put on the Leia costume or Billy Dee Williams wear a smashing blue cape... Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, and Kenny Baker should have gotten some legitimate recognition for their parts in making Star Wars a success for Lucas...

On a sidenote, Firefox spellchecks "Chewbacca" and suggests "Backache" as a replacement...

Re:Characters are created to suffer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055825)

This crap came out in the 80's.

For kids.

Who are now all 40+ year old losers. That's why it seems like 'adults'.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | about a year ago | (#44055935)

We can't stay young for long, but we can be immature just as long as we like...
Also, 40 is not the new ANYTHING, it's just fucking 40.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44055829)

...you'd think the Rebel Alliance would weld some insignia on their .. uh .. prominent facing trunk, for recognition.

Oh yeah! How would you like it if somebody came along and burned a 'medal of honor' on your chest with a hot iron? I bet not very much... And besides, R2D2 did receive recognition for heroism in the first episode...

Re:Characters are created to suffer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44056223)

When children learn to devalue others, they can devalue anyone - including their parents. - Jean Luc Picard

Re:Characters are created to suffer (4, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about a year ago | (#44055323)

Characters in science fiction stories allow us to look at things differently than we normally do.

In some cases, it lets us look at prejudice, racism, etc. (But but.. HE'S BLACK and WHITE and I'm WHITE AND BLACK).

To be honest, I never thought about it before, but the treatment of the droids in Star Wars is really just another look into George's racism.

When he was growing up- racism was so prevalent, you could be blind to it. Just watch old 1950's movies and TV shows and it's atrocious.

I don't think George was trying to make a point and get people to see their racism and willingness to be sadistic (or even casually murderous) to weaker beings but wowsers- the author really opens my eyes. I won't see Star Wars the same way again.

Even the GOOD guys are fairly callous and evil to droids- treating intelligent beings as slaves.

Very interesting.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055601)

They're robots. Made to serve. Considering them as anything but is a lacking on your part only.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055767)

They're intelligent beings. Made to serve. Considering them as anything but is a lacking on your part only.

FTFY, at least in the context of the Star Wars universe.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (1)

crakbone (860662) | about a year ago | (#44055973)

I'll admit I cannot remember where I saw it but I seem to remember in the star wars cannon that droids got reformatted or wiped all the time because they would get inconsistencies in their programming. This removed any sort of personalities that were developing. The majority of robots were just dumb robots that did what they were told and did not question or even look at their existence and were updated and wiped routinely. In the starwars universe they were just equal to what smart phones, toasters, refrigerators and cars are to us now. In every episode robots (excluding ones designed for war) were over looked as any kind of threat. As if they were furniture rather than anything with a sign of sentience. I don't take it as racism but as an idea that the AI in the robot is supposed to simulate personality but does not have one. The main ones I saw causing any sort of sadistic pleasure from hurting robots was one itself.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44056051)

What does the act of wiping/reformatting a developing personality constitute? Doesn't that seem to be a little troublesome itself?

Re:Characters are created to suffer (2)

garyebickford (222422) | about a year ago | (#44056553)

Oh, poor Siri! I dropped my iPhone in the toilet and now Siri is dead!

Re:Characters are created to suffer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44056649)

a) Siri exists on a server.
b) Siri doesn't have, and never will develop, a personality, it's essentially an expert system with voice parsing.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (4, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year ago | (#44055817)

Droids aren't intelligent beings. You wouldn't feel bad if you dropped and broke a smartphone on the ground, would you? Well, maybe you would, as you'd no longer have a smartphone and would have to pick up a replacement... but you wouldn't feel bad for the phone. Then why would you feel bad for C3-P0? Yes, droids are much much more advanced than a smartphone, but they are no more intelligent beings than a rock is. They don't experience joy or sorrow: they're just programmed to emulate it. Nowhere in Star Wars is it at all implied that they actually are intelligent, rational beings with free will (well, at least not standard droids: there are probably exceptions in some of the fiction).

Droids are quite simply not alive. They're a simulacrum of life (and a particularly good one), but that is not the same as life. It makes absolutely no sense to have any feelings towards them, beyond a kind of affection which one might feel for a particularly useful car or other tool. That's all they are: tools. They show some survival instinct, but that's just because you want your tools to survive if at all possible. They feel "pain", but only as a representation of damage (although I've always found it quite... odd that droids can be "tortured" in the Star Wards universe). They're not sentient beings.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44056001)

I consider certain races to be simulagrum of life as well (and a particularly good one), but I don't considerm them alive. So I agree, for example if someone from your particular ethnicity was dying, I wouldnt care, you're not really alive, and can't prove that you are either, you're ust a bag of chemicals, and chemical reactions.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (1)

GloomE (695185) | about a year ago | (#44056075)

I consider all people to be simulacrum of life as well (and a particularly good one), but I don't consider them alive. So I agree, for example if someone was dying, I wouldn't care, you're not really alive, and can't prove that you are either, you're just a bag of chemicals, and chemical reactions.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (1)

garyebickford (222422) | about a year ago | (#44056577)

There was a book (on cognitive science?) back in the early 1990s, which asserted (IIRC) that self-aware intelligence did not arise in most humans until the Renaissance. I think it also argued that most of us, most of the time, are not self-aware and intelligent even today. I won't argue for or against, but that guy down the street, well! ...

Re:Characters are created to suffer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44056793)

The droids were tortured because Lucas sometimes forgot that his imaginary droids are supposed to be simulations. Humans do tend to anthropomorphize things, and that is a very hard inclination to resist. When the things in question are specifically designed to appear sentient, it is all the more tempting to think of them as such and do things to them that would only make sense when done to sentient beings.

Even the best science fiction writers can sometimes fall into this trap. And why shouldn't they? Most people fall into this trap on a regular basis regarding things far simpler than star wars droids.

Also, to further your point, Baloroth, General Grievous was the only droid that could use the force, by virtue of having actual biological organs as part of his construction, and hence actually being alive. We are not told (as I recall) if his central processor includes any neurons, but it is clear that he is a cyborg, and not a mere droid. This reinforces the understanding that ordinary droids are not alive, and hence there is no compelling reason to treat them as if they were alive.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#44055351)

Droids in real life are built to suffer. To do shit man doesn't want to expend time/effort/health to do. Heavy, dangerous, repetitive, they don't get tired, they don't get hungry, they don't whine about trolls, they don't feel any remorse.
It should come as no surprise that some writer somewhere realized a machine is a damn machine even if you give it a nice voice, a stylish haircut and big tits.
It's a machine. The pissing and moaning C3PO did was a comedy device, not real life. Pursuing philosophical ends to an imaginary problem in a closed system is neurotic on television. Doing it in real life.... well, as long as you don't wear Trekkie gear to deliver the mail or preach from a bullhorn on the streetcorner...

Re:Characters are created to suffer (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44055735)

"they don't get hungry,"
So these mythical device don't require energy? Interesting.

Ha, I kid, it' snot interesting, it's a pathetically narrow and ignorant view of current cutting edge robotics and AI.

"It's a machine."
and you are a chemical factory? so what.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44056299)

I think the point is that people assume that they aren't intelligent in the Star Wars universe. I often thought that R2's behavior was specifically intended to convey the idea that they are...

Re:Characters are created to suffer (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#44056631)

And they whine and fret less than you.
DRIVE that equipment to its maximum potential!
In the beginning man made machine.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (1)

garyebickford (222422) | about a year ago | (#44056645)

I would argue that hunger, like suffering, is an emotional response that is inherent in a living, intelligent being. It's different from a programmed response to a low battery condition that sends the robot to a recharging facility.

OTOH there are those who think that motivation, which is the balancing of a large variety of inputs and responses to determine a best course of action, is both a key part of intelligence and an implementable function of a neural network. This goes back to the essentially philosophical question in systems science, as to whether a 'system' that we discuss is the actual thing, or merely a model of the thing that we discuss.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (2)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44055407)

Plus, the idea of robots with emotions is a stupid idea, as the late Douglas Adams so hilariously lampooned in HHGTG. When it's robots it's machines. You're not supposed to take it seriously, and emotional machines reminds you of this. They're androids, not replicants.

Don't anthropomorphize machines, they hate it when you do that.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (4, Insightful)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about a year ago | (#44055537)

On the other hand, I'm reminded of this counter argument...

"Illogical though it seemed, most of the human race had found it impossible not to be polite to its artificial children, however simple-minded they might be. Whole volumes of psychology, as well as popular guides (How Not to Hurt Your Computer's Feelings; Artificial Intelligence - Real irritation were two of the best-known titles) had been written on the subject of Man-Machine etiquette. Long ago it had been decided that, however inconsequential rudeness to robots might appear to be, it should be discouraged. All too easily, it could spread to human relationships as well.
- 3001The Final Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke

Which is why I always say "thank you" to my computer when it finishes a difficult task ;-)

Re:Characters are created to suffer (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44055881)

That's funny, because I know people who say, "Excuse me", to the dog when they push him out of the way.

Re:Characters are created to suffer (1)

joelito_pr (931211) | about a year ago | (#44056305)

Thank you Siri

Re:Characters are created to suffer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44056281)

Lucas copied the structure from a movie that used medieval peasants where he used droids; if you feel some empathy for the droids, it could be argued that he did well.

It's fiction, Jim. (3)

msauve (701917) | about a year ago | (#44054997)

Really, they blow up whole fictional worlds, and you're worried about fictional droids?

Re:It's fiction, Jim. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055019)

Really, they blow up whole fictional worlds, and you're worried about fictional droids?

Well, it's not just one world, it's a whole people. Like, the systematic destruction of an entire people. On MULTIPLE worlds.

Re:It's fiction, Jim. (2)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#44055205)

You mean, this [youtube.com] ?

Re:It's fiction, Jim. (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year ago | (#44055423)

Hey, he posted this on /. with the expectation there would be no trolls. He worries the Care Bears won't get enough lollipops.

Re: no, it's.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055801)

It's a TRAAAAAP.

Re:It's fiction, Jim. (1)

je ne sais quoi (987177) | about a year ago | (#44056517)

It all depends on how the acts are portrayed. When they blew up Alderaan, all the characters were horrified, except for the evil people we the audience were supposed to see as evil. As TFA points out, when they dismember or mutilate a droid, everyone, even people we the audience are supposed to interpret as the good guys, sometimes laugh or make light of it. See the difference? If they showed someone having remorse for the number of deactivated droids in the droid wars, it wouldn't be a problem. The author's point is also that the droids do suffer when bad things happen to them, they're not necessarily the unfeeling machines of today. In fairness to Lucas, in ROTJ at one point he does show some droids being tortured, but it was being done by people we were supposed to see as evil (Jabba and his henchmen).

it's just a watering down for increased bottom lin (4, Insightful)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | about a year ago | (#44055001)

It's just a way for Lucas to make his film more marketable to parents of young children by still having lots of epic battles, but no blood and seeimingly victimless deaths.

The films started as serious adult adventures (especially Empire) and went back into kiddie land from there beginning with the Ewoks.

To me it's a purely driven by a financial and marketability point. And the fact that as Lucas got older and had kids he wanted to make films he could show to his kids. I think he's said as much in the past.

By keeping stormtroopers faceless, and robots robots, you can mow them down all you want without any cultural perception of humanized loss.

And if it's a purely logical machine getting cut down that makes perfect sense. A hybrid item with organic chemistry, that one is a bit more difficult...

Re:it's just a watering down for increased bottom (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | about a year ago | (#44055107)

It's just a way for Lucas to make his film more marketable to parents of young children by still having lots of epic battles, but no blood and seeimingly victimless deaths.

That, and it becomes more a war-of-resources than a war-of-blood. Whoever can buy the biggest droid army wins.

In our world, "droids" lack sentience (though are getting better and better at faking it) and to some degree society is viewing them as having rights. At least in the personification sense. In Lucas's world, droids have sentience, but appear to be completely devoid of rights, and in most cases, respect. It's very similar to slavery a century ago. I think that may be the comparison he's making with them?

I think Anakin and Luke's relationship with say, R2D2, is very much the exception to the rule in the Star Wars universe, a bit like how someone in the 1800's treating a slave they owed with any degree of respect was considered inappropriate. Look at how that one guy said "oh, and have the protocol droid's mind wiped." "oh dear..." Very callously said, and very accepting of his fate.

Re:it's just a watering down for increased bottom (0)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44055627)

"though are getting better and better at faking it"
now you get to let everyone know the difference between faking it and not faking it is. Good luck with that. Oh, please acquire a PhD in one of the appropriate areas before responding with you half baked 'idea'.

Re:it's just a watering down for increased bottom (1)

jzuccaro (1234644) | about a year ago | (#44055185)

I thought the stormtroopers were faceless so they could use the same doubles again and again

Re:it's just a watering down for increased bottom (3, Interesting)

thms (1339227) | about a year ago | (#44055247)

The fact that they never touch the philosophical issues of "droids rights" makes me classify Star Wars more into the Fantasy than in the Science Fiction genre. It takes place in a universe where apart from some engineering progress towards bigger weapons no scientific progress is made (except maybe the midichlorians lapse), and technology itself is never questioned but is just a plot device. Just like droids.

Re:it's just a watering down for increased bottom (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44055611)

Well done,. you just describe all of science fiction.
From Heinlein needing a magical.. ,I mean, AI dimensional travelling car, to the Monolith.

Do you know what the difference between science fiction and fantasy is? Nothing.

Re:it's just a watering down for increased bottom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055891)

There is a difference and that difference is called Frickin' Lasers!

Re:it's just a watering down for increased bottom (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#44055941)

Star Wars is an old fashion western shoot-em-up(not a civil rights lecture), in space, so it looked more like world war 2, couldn't have been more obvious. It's still fun to watch.

Re:it's just a watering down for increased bottom (3, Interesting)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about a year ago | (#44056383)

The gap between F & SF is superficial; both have plenty of brain candy and works that explore deeper topics, including ones that you'd expect to belong in the other category. That's why the term "speculative fiction" has been gaining steam: it's increasingly difficult to pinpoint which side stories fall on when it comes to both underlying content and window-dressing, especially within subgenres like urban fantasy. For that matter, the window-dressing itself is typically the same items or concepts with different names, including when it comes to science vs. magic -- that's what the popular quote about highly advanced technology being indistinguishable from magic was referring to, IIRC.

Example: a race from another world arrives here through an inter-dimensional portal, carrying items that outperform our best computers or medicine. You can call their species monsters or aliens, describe their method of transport as a native skill or technology or magic (or all three), and deem their objects magical or extremely advanced technology -- they're the same concepts, and the same philosophical questions can arise as a result. (My guess is that others here can name at least a book/series or three that is close to that description; I can't think of specific ones offhand.)

Re:it's just a watering down for increased bottom (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055341)

I think you are making some valuable points here.

The thing is, I believe the OP is referring to the ethical issue of AI rights. Eventually an AI achieves a level of capability and independence that they will have to be granted citizenship rights. And if we will not do it voluntarily, they will take it for themselves.

However this is pretty high order philosophizing. I believe Star Wars is simply stuck in the mindset of "robots are tools we created for our own use. What's the point in asking about their rights?" And the narrative arcs have shown no interest at all in tackling the OP's subject. The Jedi are moral, upstanding people and they would never do wrong (is how the story would have you believe it). Although there is the little issue of Annakin Skywalker.

Re:it's just a watering down for increased bottom (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055739)

Eventually an AI achieves a level of capability and independence that they will have to be granted citizenship rights. And if we will not do it voluntarily, they will take it for themselves.

Why on earth would you program an AI to seek citizenship?

Re:it's just a watering down for increased bottom (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year ago | (#44056585)

And if we will not do it voluntarily, they will take it for themselves.

Why would they?

The notion that machines that are sufficiently advanced would somehow inevitably desire the same sorts of things that we desire out of existence is simply anthropomorphism.

i dont believe your stoopid families eat oats (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055003)

Horse crap from marin

Know your audience, where they came from (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055059)

Doomsday weapons, oppressive governments, a runaway and uncaring military, racism, civil rights issues... all these themes are woven throughout the Star Wars trilogy to tug at those deep seated feelings that by the late 70s were more or less hard wired into a generation of movie goers.

To be honest I was surprised when Jedi came out that there wasn't something about the ecology added in just to be trendy.

Re:Know your audience, where they came from (5, Interesting)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44055109)

To be honest I was surprised when Jedi came out that there wasn't something about the ecology added in just to be trendy.

So, you're unaware of the Endor Holocaust [theforce.net] , the ecological disaster caused when the Rebellion blew Death Star II to smithereens?

Re:Know your audience, where they came from (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055317)

Anything that wipes out those creepy little fury bastards the better!

Re:Know your audience, where they came from (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44056291)

To be honest I was surprised when Jedi came out that there wasn't something about the ecology added in just to be trendy.

So, you're unaware of the Endor Holocaust [theforce.net] , the ecological disaster caused when the Rebellion blew Death Star II to smithereens?

What? We are talking about droid rights and now you go off topic by talking about killing ewoks. Serves them right with that fate. It leaves more room to all those poor droids.

Don't anthropomorphize droids (2)

Geste (527302) | about a year ago | (#44055089)

They hate that!

Slow news day, huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055105)

Someone's op-ed article about the rights of fictional characters in fictional worlds is front page news? Must be a slow news day.

Re:Slow news day, huh? (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#44056121)

But it brings up bigger philosophical issues. The topic is both whimsy fun, AND has potentially deep philosophical underpinnings related to the nature of sentience and the rights of intelligent artificial beings. Good sci-fi can straddle both.

"rights" (3, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about a year ago | (#44055113)

Leaving aside the obvious, that we're talking about a fictional space opera, not some serious SciFi here, what's wrong with this approach?

We give rights to people and to animals because they are feeling, living beings. A robot or computer does not feel anything unless you've programmed him to simulate such a thing. The difference between your iPhone and the androids of SciFi is much smaller than the difference between a microbe and a human being, and we kill millions of those every time we use desinfectant spray. Don't recall anyone getting murder charges for that.

Despite all the make-belief, androids aren't human and don't suffer. There's no point in giving them rights. As a matter of fact, programming them so that they can suffer (instead of simulating an avoidance algorithm) would be the cruel part, not what comes after.

Re:"rights" (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | about a year ago | (#44055493)

A robot or computer does not feel anything unless you've programmed him to simulate such a thing.

And what exactly do you think a human being is? It's a robot with a computer brain that has been programmed to simulate 'feeling' things.

Re:"rights" (0)

Tom (822) | about a year ago | (#44055845)

And what exactly do you think a human being is? It's a robot with a computer brain that has been programmed to simulate 'feeling' things.

Uh, no it isn't. That's a mechanistic view that has been out of fashion for at least 10 years. I strongly recommend reading some more recent research.

Re:"rights" (3, Interesting)

Pfhorrest (545131) | about a year ago | (#44056421)

Care to post a link to this revolutionary new research debunking physicalism? I'd have thought it'd have made the news.

If you can't cite such a thing, then GP's point stands: humans are physical things executing certain functions some of which constitute the state we call "feeling", and a sufficiently perfect emulation of such functions would constitute "feeling" just as much if carried out by a physical thing made of metal as they would when carried out by our brains.

Re:"rights" (1)

yndrd1984 (730475) | about a year ago | (#44056809)

If you can't cite such a thing, then GP's point stands: humans are physical things executing certain functions some of which constitute the state we call "feeling", and a sufficiently perfect emulation of such functions would constitute "feeling" just as much if carried out by a physical thing made of metal as they would when carried out by our brains.

But we (or at least I) don't know if any specific droid has a "sufficiently perfect emulation". You could have two droids with identical hardware, one running an exact copy of a person's brain, while the other just looks up its current situation in a database of movies and 'acts out' the appropriate role. I think there's a clear difference in moral standing between the two.

And that's the issue I have with the GP - an actor or CG character can simulate anger without actually feeling it, but people can actually get angry - and that's a big difference. And I don't know if Star Wars droids are more like conscious beings that feel pain or video game monsters taking damage.

Re:"rights" (3, Insightful)

_Ludwig (86077) | about a year ago | (#44056091)

What if the only way to achieve the artificial intelligence necessary for them to be useful in their intended role is through processes which mimic biological development? What if having emotions and the ability to suffer are integral to an android whose main task (as a protocol droid) is to facilitate communication between natural biological entities?

Fair Wages? (3, Funny)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#44055121)

I wonder if the author paid the computer he wrote this on a fair wage.

Re:Fair Wages? (1)

malachiorion (1205130) | about a year ago | (#44056873)

I wonder if the author paid the computer he wrote this on a fair wage.

Oh c'mon, I upgraded its RAM and everything. What more does it want from me!?!? I also feed it crumbs on what seems to be a daily basis. That counts for something, right?

No, The Whole Arc is about a Droid (5, Interesting)

speedlaw (878924) | about a year ago | (#44055141)

Really ! R2-D2 is the only character in all the movies. He has a long life. He is proven to be sapient but hides it well. He does NOT follow orders. Except for the fact only C3P0 and other droids (and occasionally Luke) can understand him, he's the most important character in the Trilogy, and those other three movies.

Re:No, The Whole Arc is about a Droid (2)

naoursla (99850) | about a year ago | (#44055199)

3PO is in all the films.

I think Lucas has stated that it was his intent that R2 and 3PO be in all 9 movies he originally "planned."

Re:No, The Whole Arc is about a Droid (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#44055327)

But R2D2 is around (and completed) before we see 3PO. And in all likelihood he was on that ship when it was first built, so he is certainly older than 3PO.

Re:No, The Whole Arc is about a Droid (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055411)

This always kills me.

I would think even the most hardcore of Star Wars fans would have some notion that there weren't nine goddamn movies "planned" up until Lucas started counting the cash from the first box office outing. After that, all the way up to his rather startling turn toward charity in his later years, the only "plan" was to milk that cash cow until it ran dry.

Let me put it this way, if the first Star Wars had flopped in theatres, do you think Lucas would have been selling it up, shoulder-nudging executives with a nine movie plan that he could complete if only he had the right investors? Fuck no. There's a reason the first three "prequel" movies to the classics we know and love seem like they were slapped together, the acting is wooden, the dialogue is terrible, the whole thing is just a vehicle for ILM to show off their latest render-farm magic. Then people sat down in theatres to find out that the Force, the mystical energy that was the driving force behind the entire series, was essentially a bacterial infection. Midi-chlorians, like venereal disease except it gives you super powers. if that's all it took for someone to gain the Force I'm surprised Han Solo wasn't a Jedi as well, after the amount of screwing around the galaxy I'm sure he did off camera he must have picked it up from someone along the way. "Doctor, it burns when I piss and I accidentally choked someone to death with my mind last week."

It all feels like it was just thrown together at the last minute in a cash grab, and that's exactly what it is. I'm guessing that's why you put "planned" in quotation marks in the first place, it's perfectly obvious that the "plan" never existed. Lucas just lucked out and then he managed to reel people in on the constant promise that the next movie was going to be an even better experience than the last one.

Re:No, The Whole Arc is about a Droid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44056413)

In reality, Anthony Daniels, who plays C3PO, is the ONLY actor in all the Star Wars movies. Yes, I am including the theatracial release of the Clone Wars movie in that as well (Many actors are in all 6 of the main ones)

Re:No, The Whole Arc is about a Droid (1)

Livius (318358) | about a year ago | (#44056675)

C-3PO had his memory erased. Was he still the same droid after that?

Though since his function was to be an interpreter for a criminal conspiracy to overthrow the lawful government of the Empire, his memory was probably wiped all the time and he just didn't know.

Re:No, The Whole Arc is about a Droid (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055329)

He's also the most filthy-mouthed of all the droids. They bleeped out absolutely everything he said!

Re:No, The Whole Arc is about a Droid (1)

stewsters (1406737) | about a year ago | (#44055557)

Was there an episode without Anakin/Vader?

Re:No, The Whole Arc is about a Droid (1)

BobNET (119675) | about a year ago | (#44055713)

Was there an episode without Anakin/Vader?

Those were different characters... from a certain point of view.

Re:No, The Whole Arc is about a Droid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055569)

R2-D2 isn't the only character in all the films. Obi-wan, Anakin and C-3PO are in all of the films too. Kenobi and Anakin change costumes/appearance at various points, but they appear in each film.

Sorry... (1)

Iniamyen (2440798) | about a year ago | (#44055215)

I'm sorry, but is there a point to this article?

Re:Sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055281)

Get people to complain and tell their friends to do the same on slashdot to get more ad impressions, duh.

Re:Sorry... (2)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about a year ago | (#44056459)

A lot of Slate stories are clickbait these days, unfortunately. I used to read it and its rival Salon every day, often more than that, but over the past few years they've moved toward the over-sensationalistic headlines, blog-worthy rants (to generate clicks/comments), purely contrarian articles like "I hate [insert thing most people like] (for clicks/comments), ads disguised as reviews (especially Slate's tech area), etc. -- and comments, requests, or feedback is never read by authors or admin.

I've saved a good chunk of time since I finally gave up on bothering to hunt for decent articles and letting myself be suckered into commenting on the clickbait/flamebait junk there. Yeah, I spend it on Slashdot, Ars Technica, etc. but the comment areas have a much higher level of intelligence and the authors/admins at Ars/etc. actually read & reply to comment threads all the time.

This is addressed in the EU. (1)

AvderTheTerrible (1960234) | about a year ago | (#44055277)

The issue of droid rights actually pops up in the New Jedi Order series a few times. In fact there is a bit of a droid rebellion at one point that pulls Han's bacon out of the fryin' pan.

Of course they're slaves (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055377)

There's human slaves, too (Remember how they found Anakin) as well as the entire set of clones, which are also slaves. But what empires on historical Earth DIDN'T have slaves? The Romans? The Dutch? The Spaniards? Aztecs? The whole Star Wars series is pretty much based on various events or periods from human history as we know it and can relate to it. Given the Roman Republic like setting in the first 3, it would be hard to imagine it without slaves. The main differences are laser weapons and ships instead of spears and chariots. Old Ben Hur Kenobi, maybe?

I ahve been saying it for decade (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44055425)

7/8/9 should be about freeing the droids.

Re:I ahve been saying it for decade (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#44056193)

but George Gates says that 6 should be enough for anybody

Re: R2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44056257)

Episode 7 should start with a flashback (pre-Episode 1) with R2-D2 in a medical research facility. Predictably, R2 accidentally irradiates a bottle of some harmless single celluled creatures (the radiation turns them into what we know as Midichlorians). In his panic to evacuate and enforce a quarrantine, he accidentally drops the vial and tracks it into the hallway, where two mortal-enemy researchers unwittingly become the first Jedi and the the first Sith.

Then Episode 9 can conclude with R2's redemption when he accidentally shorts out an antimatter containment vessel's shielding, and the radiation from the ensuing explosion destroys all remaining biological life in the galaxy, inclduding all the Jedi and Sith. But then the final scene zooms in to show a single midichlorian floating through space.

Why didn't the wookie get a medal? (1)

TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) | about a year ago | (#44055491)

Hrrrmph.

Fuck the toasters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055727)

Fuck them hard and long! I'm especially fond of fucking the blond toasters.

Jesus Fucking Christ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44055785)

Really? This is on-par with college Advanced Lit. courses which dissect novels. "A Reading of StarWars from the Droid's Perspective".

Re:Jesus Fucking Christ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44056109)

All readings of Star Wars are from the droids' perspective.

It was always about droids (1)

pbjones (315127) | about a year ago | (#44055803)

The whole saga is about the adventures of two droids. The humans come and go, the droids live on through all of the films.

Re:It was always about droids (1)

Master Moose (1243274) | about a year ago | (#44055921)

And their own 80s cartoon series.

Re:It was always about droids (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#44056149)

The humans come and go, the droids live on through all of the films.

Because they are cheaper to digitally "clone" properly on screen.

Next week on Slate: Do you hate your car? (1)

sootman (158191) | about a year ago | (#44056033)

You drive it all around, only letting it rest when YOU'RE done with it; you leave it outside, in the heat, cold, and rain; you don't bring it to a mechanic until it's been making "that noise" for months; and in the end, you let some guy to it away to a crusher.

PETOR (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#44056177)

You kicked your Roomba vac? PETOR* will be all over your arse

* People for the Ethical Treatment of Robots

Red Shirts (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year ago | (#44056089)

Just put red shirts on the droids to give them human-like status.....oh, wait

Human rights for robots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44056153)

FTFA...

...the human rights situation for robots is horrifying.

Honestly I couldn't read anymore after that statement. What the hell are you arguing for anyways? They're designed for cannon fodder, let's not complicate things.

Other concerns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44056187)

I would think that the treatment of women in Star Wars is more concerning. There are very few women in any of the movies. Leia is (nearly) the only one in the original trilogy and she is kidnapped three times, tortured twice and turned into a sex slave/stripper once. There are very few women in the prequels and I think they all die by the end of the prequel films. I don't think that speaks well of Lucas' view of women.

Listen....and understand (1)

OutOnARock (935713) | about a year ago | (#44056197)

That Terminator is out there......it can't be bargained with...it can't be reasoned with....it doesn't understand pity, or remorse, or fear; and it will absolutely not stop, ever, until you are dead...

just saying......

Re:Listen....and understand (1)

OutOnARock (935713) | about a year ago | (#44056239)

...and it will absolutely will not stop.....

there fixed that for me :)

Well, Lucas can ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44056565)

... bite my shiny metal ass.

-- Bender

Objection: (1)

ryl00 (843470) | about a year ago | (#44056859)

HK-47!
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