So… thinking about Star Wars and Droids today.
Technology in Star Wars seems to have peaked a long time before the films. Like 1000s of years ago. They very much seemed to have maxed out their technology. Blasters, hyperdrives, cybernetic limb replacement, anti-grav, deflector shields. They are very much a constant.
Droids are interesting because they seem to be true AIs. They are learning machines. A droid learns from it’s experiences and develops a personality and the ability to make judgement calls just like a person, but probably at a much more accelerated rate. Of course some droids might be put into situations where they learn bad habits. Maybe they are treated poorly and learn to fear people. Or they might learn bad ways of solving problems.
So buying second-hand droids from the Jawas isn’t such a bad proposition. You might get a bad one. But buying a brand new one would be super annoying. It would have some basic skills depending on it’s design, but it could only handle basic tasks and couldn’t really make decisions or judgement calls. It would be like an idiot savant to start with. Like the Trade Federation battle-droids, they understand how to fight but they are very inexperienced and not very bright.
Old droids are valuable because of what they have learned, the personalities they have developed, the experiences that they have had.
That is why people would want to hang onto a good droid. It’s not the technology, it’s the accumulated experiences of the droid that make it valuable. And you wouldn’t be able to tell which the valuable droids were either … although it would probably tend to be the older ones.
So when you get a new droid what is it really? It’s a learning matrix with a set of basic skills based on it’s purpose. And it would also be programmed to want to do the thing it is designed for. Astromechs would want to repair and operate ships. Protocol droids would want to help people communicate.
And would would this desire be implemented? This “motivation”?
In the Star Wars films “motivator” is a technobabble term that basically means the thing that makes something go. No one ever uses the term “engine” or “motor”. Instead machines have “motivators” “Uncle Owen, this R2 unit has a bad motivator” “The hyperspace motivator has been damaged it’s impossible to go to light speed”.
Well what if a “motivator” was a bit more than that. What if a droid’s motivator was the technology that compelled it to fulfill it’s function. It literally provides the motivation for it’s actions. If a droids motivator was damaged it would feel no compulsion to carry out it’s purpose. It would literally have no motivation.
But what about the “hyperspace motivator” on the Falcon?
Isn’t it interesting how (when the script requires it) the Falcon seems quite capable of flying itself. Dodging tie-fighters and star destroyers while Han and Chewie try to get the hyperspace motivator working again.
And isn’t it also interesting how the Falcon is apparently quite a good ship while always being considered by people to be a piece of garbage. Almost like it was a very old droid. Maybe the Falcon is a droid or at least contains a lot of droid technology. It’s old and been around a lot and learned a lot. That is what makes it a good ship although that isn’t obvious to an initial inspection.
Hence when the hyperspace motivator fails, the hyperspace engine literally does not want to engage.
I don’t know if it would be common to build ships using droid tech. Somehow I doubt it. Maybe that is the special edge that the Falcon has. It’s basically a giant space-faring smuggler droid that has been learning all the tricks of how to smuggle goods and dodge imperial patrols for decades. What smuggler wouldn’t want that ship?