Watching Star Wars 28 Years Later
Slide 1
by Marshall Brain

Now keep in mind that the movie Star Wars is supposed to be set in an incredibly advanced civilization. This civilization is so advanced that they have:

  • Amazing space ships ranging in size from X-Wing fighters up to the Death Star -- as large as a small moon.
  • Blaster technology stretching from small hand-held devices up to planet-smashing behemoths.
  • Incredibly intelligent droids able to speak, set goals, plan and even deceive human beings.
  • The ability to fly faster than the speed of light.
  • The ability to create artificial gravity.
  • The ability to "repel" gravity with repulsorlifts, so that spaceships, cars and even robots can effortlessly float in the air.
  • The ability to modify the human anatomy so that restrooms are no longer necessary.
  • And so on...
The technology in many areas of the society is remarkably advanced. Yet in other areas, the technology is so pathetic as to be comical. That is why it is nearly impossible to watch Star Wars today without laughing, especially if you are thinking about it from a SadTech perspective.

You can see that comedy in the first scene with dialog. We have R2-D2 and C-3PO walking down a hallway in the Princess' space ship.

C-3PO is shuffling along like he has some sort of disease, the sounds of his gears easily audible. His face has no moving parts. This, of course, is embarrassing to watch. In a society this advanced, droids that walk will have athletic prowess (the robots in "I, Robot" are much more likely). They certainly will not shuffle, and they will be completely silent. It is quite likely that robots will look like humans in every way.

R2-D2 is just impossible. His design is totally useless except in a environment with perfectly smooth floors and elevators. And he has no arms!

And the two robots are TALKING to each other. One in English, with an accent, and the other in unintelligible beeps. Obviously real robots will never talk to each other audibly like this. They will communicate wirelessly, at incredibly high speed and in complete silence. They will share visual data, environmental data, location information and so on. A robot like C-3PO will have a complete and highly detailed "situation image" for the entire ship, and for much of the rest of the galaxy as well. Millions of droids will integrate their views of the world together to create this image.

[In a few moments C-3PO will ask, "R2-D2, where are you?" What an absurd question for a robot to ask. In just 20 or 30 years, every robot on planet earth will be able to tell you the exact location of every other robot on the planet, and probably every human as well. The question "Where are you?" is ridiculous in the context of a civilization as advanced as the one portrayed in Star Wars.]

That is funny (embarrassing?) enough, but the next scene is even funnier...

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You may also enjoy this in-depth interview, "Marshall Brain on Singularity 1on1: We're approaching humanity’s make or break period":

On the coming Singularity and Artificial Intelligence:

A Conversation with Marshall Brain from MIRI on Vimeo.

See Also

About the Author
Robotic Nation
Robots in 2015
Robotic Freedom
Robotic Nation FAQ
Robotic Nation Evidence
Basic Income
Discard your body
Manna - the book
Science on the Brain
Careful Parents
Star Wars
How God Works

How to make a million dollars

Reviews
Salon
Wired
LiveScience
LATimes Editorial
Geek of the week

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