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#1
caltrek

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I know Star Wars is so main stream that it is probably not worth examining here.  Also, Star Trek  and Doctor Who seems to be more popular with this crowd.  Still, the article below has such a peculiar take on Star Wars that I thought it worth starting this thread.

 

Why Star Wars Space Nazis Shun Killer Robots

 

http://blogs.discove...-killer-robots/

 

Introduction:

 

(Discover) Star Wars films tend to dwell upon space fantasy adventures that mix starships with space wizards wielding laser swords in a galaxy far, far away. Despite that focus, a number of Star Wars films also happen to feature another staple of science fiction: killer robots.

 

Fictional killer robots often represent either the agents of greater villains or the primary existential threat to humanity in many science fiction films. Iconic Star Wars villains such as Darth Vader and Kylo Ren would seem to naturally go glove-in-hand with the idea of commanding killer robot armies to do their bidding. But the Star Wars films generally go in a different direction by featuring villains who mostly disdain the use of killer robots—even if the bad guys may secretly like the idea of mindless automatons doing their bidding.

 

Turn back now if you want to avoid spoilers on any of the Star Wars films other than “The Last Jedi.”

 

Rise of the Killer Robot Armies

 

At first glance, the Star Wars prequel trilogy appears to follow the traditional “killer robots are bad” script. The initial threat from armies of killer robots help set events in motion that eventually bring about the downfall of both the Old Republic and the Jedi Knights: a monastic order of warriors that had protected the Republic based primarily on their mastery of the mysterious power known as the Force.

 

During the prequel films, a group of star systems and corporations forms a Separatist Alliance with the goal of breaking away from the Old Republic’s rule over most of the known Star Wars galaxy. The Separatists deploy large armies and fleets of military robots that come in all shapes and sizes, including humanoid battle droids carrying energy weapons and droid starfighters capable of space combat.

 

 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#2
Jakob

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I wish killer robots would sometimes be portrayed as a good thing that saves human lives.



#3
Yuli Ban

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I wish killer robots would sometimes be portrayed as a good thing that saves human lives.

The name isn't doing it any favors, for starters.


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#4
wjfox

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Star Wars isn't really "the future", is it?


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#5
As We Rise

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Star Wars isn't really "the future", is it?

"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..."
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#6
Yuli Ban

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It's someone's future.


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#7
Jakob

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I wish killer robots would sometimes be portrayed as a good thing that saves human lives.

The name isn't doing it any favors, for starters.

 

Autonomous Military Systems.



#8
Jakob

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Star Wars isn't really "the future", is it?

Maybe not "the future", but The Future™ perhaps.


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#9
Yuli Ban

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I wish killer robots would sometimes be portrayed as a good thing that saves human lives.

The name isn't doing it any favors, for starters.

 

Autonomous Military Systems.

 

How about "combat systems"? Or "autonomous combat unit"? Since not every 'killer robot' will be military. For example: police.

For the record, the official term is "lethal autonomous weapon". I'm just not sure about calling killer bots "weapons" since by definition they must have some sense of agency. Otherwise you would call soldiers or knights "weapons". Of course, that would work to give Judge Dredd a new meaning when he says "I am the law."


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#10
caltrek

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Whatever you rename it, I am sure George Orwell will be spinning in his grave.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#11
Jakob

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Whatever you rename it, I am sure George Orwell will be spinning in his grave.

They save lives.

 

The obvious solution to the Skynet problem is not to make them self-aware in the first place--it seems like something that would be rather hard to accidentally do.



#12
caltrek

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Whatever you rename it, I am sure George Orwell will be spinning in his grave.

They save lives.

 

The obvious solution to the Skynet problem is not to make them self-aware in the first place--it seems like something that would be rather hard to accidentally do.

 

 

They also kill, or are we now talking about a different invention?


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#13
Yuli Ban

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The topic of killer robots is so contentious because you can easily frame the opposition as "Why do you want people to kill others?". As in "pro-killer robots" or "pro-killer humans". It would be an interesting hashtag: "#KeepOurKillersHuman"

 

I'd rather we not fight at all, but I'm not that idealistic. 


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And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#14
Jakob

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Whatever you rename it, I am sure George Orwell will be spinning in his grave.

They save lives.

 

The obvious solution to the Skynet problem is not to make them self-aware in the first place--it seems like something that would be rather hard to accidentally do.

 

 

They also kill, or are we now talking about a different invention?

 

Well they kill fewer people. Fewer still if both sides are using them.



#15
caltrek

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The topic of killer robots is so contentious because you can easily frame the opposition as "Why do you want people to kill others?". As in "pro-killer robots" or "pro-killer humans". It would be an interesting hashtag: "#KeepOurKillersHuman"

 

I'd rather we not fight at all, but I'm not that idealistic. 

 

I am (that idealistic).


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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#16
caltrek

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The droids of Star Wars might be more realistic than people think

 

https://www.theverge...-transportation

 

Introduction:

 

The Verge) It’s probably not a stretch to say that the droids of Star Wars, like R2-D2 or C-3P0, are some of the most famous robots in science fiction. But how feasible are these iconic droids in real life?

 

Robin R. Murphy, a researcher at Texas A&M University, looked at how realistic some of the Star Wars robots are. In a study published today in the journal Science Robotics, she concluded that while having an intelligent, sentient robot buddy fix your spaceship might be a little beyond today’s science, there are parts of Star Wars’ droids that do hold up in the real world.

 

Chief among those is how they communicate. While some droids in Star Wars talk out loud in regular English, most of the robotic characters use nonverbal communications instead. And the chirping and warbling from droids like BB-8 or R2-D2 to indicate feelings or thoughts without spoken words are effective for real-life nonverbal robotic communications too, according to studies done by researcher Robin Read.

 

On a purely nerdy note, though, I would respectfully disagree with Murphy’s classification of R2-D2’s beeping as nonverbal communication. Per Star Wars canon, the beeps and whistles of droids are actually a language known as binary (unrelated to the binary numeric system that serves as an underlying component of our own universe’s digital coding). Those chirps can be understood by human characters, or translated back into English through written or verbal translations. It is true, however, that Star Wars viewers aren’t fluent in the fictional languages of droids, so the original point that the nonverbal contextual beeps are a useful means of communication still stands.

 

Less feasible is how the Star Wars droids move, according to Murphy. Apparently, as adorable as it is to see BB-8 roll around the desert hills of Jakku in the movie, that kind of spherical method of movement doesn’t apply to real world physics. “Anyone who has driven a car on a beach knows how quickly wheels can become buried in the sand and spin in place,” the study says.

sphero-bb-8-7172.0.0.jpg

Photo by Ross Miller / The Verge


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#17
zEVerzan

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Star Wars isn't really "the future", is it?

 

Oh boy! What if a group of humans from the year 3000 became stuck in a wormhole and got flung to a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away?


I always imagined the future as a time of more reason, empathy, and peace, not less. It's time for a change.
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#18
caltrek

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NASA could look to Star Wars for building better space-bound robots for repairs

 

https://www.theverge...ie-iss-autonomy

 

Introduction:

 

(The Verge) Beyond the general “space” conceit, NASA and Star Wars don’t have a ton of similarities. One is a very real government organization concerned with the complex realities of space exploration; the other is a science-fiction franchise about space wizards and with a very, very tenuous grasp of how physics work. But there are some useful scientific lessons we can still learn from Star Wars, at least according to one NASA robotics engineer.

 

W. Kris Verdeyen, who spent years working on NASA’s humanoid robot Valkyrie, argues that NASA should strive to create its own Star Wars-inspired droids. In fact, robots like R2-D2 or BB-8 have features and functions that could turn useful in our own space-bound bots, according to an article Verdeyen published today in the journal Science Robotics.

 

 “NASA does not have quite the same need for battlefield fixes as the Rebel Alliance,” Verdeyen points out, but NASA has been creating its own anthropomorphic robots that could assist astronauts in space. Valkyrie, for example, is a NASA robot designed to test technologies for future robots that could replace astronauts in more dangerous situations on spacecraft. And in 2011, the humanoid Robonaut 2 began working on the International Space Station to help automate tasks like changing out air filters.

 

But Star Wars’ robots have some peculiar features that could come in handy. For example, the droids carry an incredible array of tools that make them quite versatile when it comes to addressing problems on the fictional spacecraft, Verdeyen says. RD-D2, for example, is able to quickly solder together broken circuits on the wing of a spacecraft while under heavy laser fire or put out fires with a built-in fire extinguisher

 

R2_repair.0.png

 

Image: Lucasfilm


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The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#19
wjfox

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Han Solo 'blaster' fetches $550,000 in New York

 

A "blaster" used by Harrison Ford's character Han Solo in the film Return of the Jedi has sold at auction in New York for $550,000 (£415,000).

The weapon, made mostly of wood, had previously spent more than 30 years in the possession of the film's art director James Schoppe.

It sold for more than a lightsaber used by Mark Hamill in the first two Star Wars films, which fetched $450,000.

 

https://www.bbc.co.u...canada-44592215



#20
Raklian

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Star Wars isn't really "the future", is it?

 

Oh boy! What if a group of humans from the year 3000 became stuck in a wormhole and got flung to a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away?

 

 

Then the one being flung there better damn hope he doesn't fall on Darth Vader by accident. That'd be the shortest journey through a wormhole ever, ending either with a long torturous choking sound or a torso being amazingly cut cleanly in half.


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