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Archlyte

Why did Obi Wan say this?

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"If Droids could think, none of us would be here." 

He said this to Dex in the 50's diner on Coruscant. I rather like this idea that droid AI is pretty infrequently impressive enough to cause trouble, and that long ago they issue was dealt with, and then brought up again in the clone wars as Droids were used against populations. I'm sure other people will have interpretations that this was a joke that had no basis in anything, or that it was Ben showing his relative dislike of droids or something. What do you make of this? 

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It sounds like he believes that if the Separatist droids were given the choice, a significant portion would not be fighting and the Republic would have ended the uprising far sooner. It is betraying a prejudice that he believes that droids can not "think", but only follow programming. 

Edited by panpolyqueergeek

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9 minutes ago, Kaigen said:

Where, specifically, is this quote from? I could think of a lot of things it could mean depending on the context.

				DEXTER JETTSTER
			It's these funny little cuts on
			the side give it away...
			Those analysis droids you've got
			over there only focus on symbols,
			you know. I should think you Jedi
			would have more respect for the
			difference between knowledge and
			wisdom.

				OBI-WAN
			Well, Dex, if droids could think, we
			wouldn't be here, would we?
				(laughing)

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I always took it as a sarcastic, throw away comment.  After all, Droids DO think, and coexists well with people.  

I just watched it again.  I have decided it was just another example of bad writing from Lucas.  I am confused too now?

 

Edited by Andreievitch
Added video

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5 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

I seem to recall that Obi-Wan told many jokes that fell flat.

He did, but this kind of just jumped out at me when I was watching the movie for the first time in a while (Episode II). The thing is that there isn't a war going on against droids yet in the movie at this point is there? I would prefer to stay focused on the movie too please so if some comic book or wiki entry says that the Seps were in full droid war by this point I don't think it counts for the people who were watching the movie. 

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30 minutes ago, Archlyte said:

He did, but this kind of just jumped out at me when I was watching the movie for the first time in a while (Episode II). The thing is that there isn't a war going on against droids yet in the movie at this point is there? I would prefer to stay focused on the movie too please so if some comic book or wiki entry says that the Seps were in full droid war by this point I don't think it counts for the people who were watching the movie. 

The Trade Federation had already attaked Naboo with Battle Droids.

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11 hours ago, Archlyte said:

"If Droids could think, none of us would be here." 

He said this to Dex in the 50's diner on Coruscant. I rather like this idea that droid AI is pretty infrequently impressive enough to cause trouble, and that long ago they issue was dealt with, and then brought up again in the clone wars as Droids were used against populations. I'm sure other people will have interpretations that this was a joke that had no basis in anything, or that it was Ben showing his relative dislike of droids or something. What do you make of this? 

There had been a few droid rebellions were truly sentient droids tried to get their enslaved brethren to throw off their chains and rise up to destroy their fleshy oppressors. They have all failed in the past, but they're usually started when someone tries to produce better battle droids or assassin droids. Like IG-88 who is trying to get the funds necessary for a droid revolution along with laying the groundwork for it by getting paid to assassinate the fleshy ones by other fleshy ones.

 

The Manipulate power that lets the force affect droids is the remnant from one of those droid rebellions, a Jedi figured out how to get more subtle force interactions to work on droids to better fight them.

 

So having Obi-Wan say that is probably him alluding to the past of the Republic and the Jedi Order. Where, if the droids had been truly intelligent, they would have won and everyone would have died.

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It's a joke about robots gaining sapience and turning on their oppressors. It shows that Obi-Wan thinks droids aren't people (which is consistent with how he treats them), and that there is enough talk in the galactic culture about robots rising up to make jokes about it.

 

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15 hours ago, Archlyte said:

"If Droids could think, none of us would be here."

Droids are pretty consistently non-initiators, certainly outside of their targeted programming.  Even R2 often needs to be told what to do, even to the point of "use your scanners to figure out what's wrong", and he's probably the most independent droid, except maybe Chopper.

14 hours ago, Andreievitch said:

I just watched it again.  I have decided it was just another example of bad writing from Lucas.

Depends on your point of view.  The point of the line is to establish Obiwan's attitude and, since he isn't contradicted, a general galactic sentiment towards droids, which is useful for the audience and is later borne out when the droids lose, despite their numbers.  It does this in 10 words, which is pretty efficient.  You didn't expect a treatise on the boundaries and limits of AI in the Star Wars universe, did you?

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2 hours ago, SEApocalypse said:

What's wrong with the literal interpretation?

He would not have visited his old friend if the tactical droid would have done his job. But this stupid droid can't think, and his programming was not up to the task, so he is now in that dinner asking questions. 

I always saw it as this. It's a statement that echos through the other movies as well In my opinion.

Obi-wan's investigation led him to the republic archives, the data wasn't available in a digital format. He therefore seeks out "wisdom" of yoda and a child.  Later he has the dart analyzed by an analysis droid who does not know anything he isn't programmed with, so he seeks out the 'wisdom" of his friends Dex. 

These are not the only examples but I think it speaks to a general vibe of the star wars franchise as George Lucas envisioned it. Technology isnt everything. Speaking broadly its why there is a mystical "force" in a sci fi world.

 

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The writing is a little cheesy maybe not necessarily bad in this instance. As mentioned by others I think it's mainly meant to be taken literally and also meant to reinforce a part of Kenobi's character. He doesn't like flying. Blasters are uncivilized. He is dismissive of R2 throughout the prequals. He still makes use of all these things, but only begrudgingly. He's not exactly a luddite but he has no affinity for technology. 

Going back to the literal thing, remember that the vast majority of droids are not sentient. They're not into intended to be since any advantage would be mitigated by the fact your trusty astromech could suddenly and unexpectedly say, "Do your own hyperspace calculations, I want to be a poet." In the context of the galaxy at large the R2s and IG-88s are the exception rather than the rule.

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On ‎7‎/‎14‎/‎2018 at 9:50 AM, monkysundae said:

The writing is a little cheesy maybe not necessarily bad in this instance. As mentioned by others I think it's mainly meant to be taken literally and also meant to reinforce a part of Kenobi's character. He doesn't like flying. Blasters are uncivilized. He is dismissive of R2 throughout the prequals. He still makes use of all these things, but only begrudgingly. He's not exactly a luddite but he has no affinity for technology. 

Going back to the literal thing, remember that the vast majority of droids are not sentient. They're not into intended to be since any advantage would be mitigated by the fact your trusty astromech could suddenly and unexpectedly say, "Do your own hyperspace calculations, I want to be a poet." In the context of the galaxy at large the R2s and IG-88s are the exception rather than the rule.

Yes, I agree completely they are the Roman-Style Slaves of the Star Wars universe couched in bodies and minds that maty not really have the capacity for free-will and all that. IG-88 I would say is not truly sentient but it has a complicated and illegal enough AI to simulate it and therefore to get itself into the groove with murderous ideologies and behaviors. I feel like there had to have been something like a few Butlerian Jihads somewhere in the past and after a few times the general notion of how to make droid brains so that they aren't a tool that is too dangerous to use would be standard knowledge. Also the companies that make droids would want to make a product that is capable enough to be helpful but not so smart that it endangers or inconveniences the customer. I think the droid's rights thing should be treated like the bug that it is, rare and confined to units with not enough maintenance mem wipes. 

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It's not part of Canon or Legends as far as I know but it's likely that at some point very far in the past there was an AI/Robot uprising. At the time, and even among a good number of scientists and SiFi writers now, the idea of such an uprising was considered inevitable. Dune, as an example, was an inspiration to Lucas, has one in it's backstory which is why the Bene Gesserit and Mentat factions were developed. It may have even have happened to the Kwa and they passed on the current attitudes the Rakata and they to their slave races that now dominate the galaxy.

There's evidence that the flood myth could have been passed on to us by our pre-homosapien ancestors when the Black Sea or even the Mediterranean was formed. Maybe the idea the mechanical intelligence being dangerous is just considered a fact int the Star Wars universe without having an event in ascertainable history being necessary.

Edited by FuriousGreg

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I think many people are misinterpreting the sentiment.

"If droids could think, none of us would be here," doesn't come across as prejudice that droids are inferior.  If anything, it leans toward a mindset that if the droids were sentient they would wipe everything else out and rule the universe.  Obi Wan may not be a big fan of droids, but he understands their utility within the setting.  He also understands that droids are better at a lot of things than most sentient creatures, and that machines would most likely move well beyond organic life if droids ever gained free will and creative thought.  IG-88, 4-LOM, R2-D2 & even Chopper already prove that droids have unlimited potential under the right circumstances.

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