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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: What do you think scientists in the Star Wars galaxy are working on?

    I always like this post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Emerald
    My theory on why Star Wars tech is the way it is is a combination of two factors: incompletely-understood ancient technology and incredibly powerful AI. It's by no means official, so feel free to disregard it and laugh at me for being dumb.


    Here's what we know: The original hyperdrives were developed by the Rakatan Infinite Empire, a highly-advanced civilization whose technology was powered by (and partly functioned using) the Dark Side of the Force. After the Infinite Empire fell ~25,000 years before A New Hope, Humans and Duros engineers were said to have "discovered ways of working around the Force-attuned components of the Rakata technology and produced their own version of the hyperdrive," and the technology spread throughout the galaxy from there.

    Not "reverse-engineered the functionality of" and not "independently developed technology based on what they knew of" the original tech, but worked around the problems, presumably leaving the technology mostly intact and not touching anything they didn't have to. Modern movies-era hyperdrives work on the same principles, and at no point over those many millennia did someone come up with a new and improved method of entering hyperspace. Heck, canonically no one knows how ships slow down to exit hyperspace, they just sorta...do it.

    The mass shadow issue with hyperdrives is similar. Two other ancient races built a Stargate-like system of gates through hyperspace (also incorporating Force-based technology, interestingly enough) that functioned just fine on a planet's surface, well within gravity wells, and Centerpoint Station (another ancient creation by a highly-Force-sensitive species) could fire a repulsor beam through hyperspace which, again, could originate and terminate within gravity wells; however, modern hyperdrives won't function within a mass shadow due to safety limiters, and turning off the safety limiters to jump within a mass shadow anyway will blow your ship to smithereens. And when the Empire was developing Interdictor cruisers, it didn't do so by directly interfering with hyperspace travel (which would be a superior method if the mechanics of hyperspace travel were well-understood), but by generating mass shadows to fool hyperdrive safety governors.

    This all points to a civilization that's very good at building, using, and incrementally improving upon hyperdrive technology, but doesn't really understand it at a fundamental level. Same with blaster technology, which was also mostly reverse-engineered from Rakatan tech; a Rakatan security droid's blaster was considered top-of-the-line during the KotOR era, over 22,000 years after it was built. Same with cloaking technology, where ancient Stygium-crystal-based cloaking devices (Stygium crystals are also Force-attuned, by-the-by) were superior to the Imperial era hybridium-based cloaking devices, being more compact, more energy-efficient, and more user-friendly (in that you could see out of them instead of being blinded yourself).

    And same with droids, which leads into my other point. In Star Wars, leaving a droid alone and un-memory-wiped for long enough means that it will develop a distinct personality and become more independent and more capable. Their programming is self-modifying, and this makes them extremely dangerous to a society reliant on droid labor. Droids with "advanced sapience," I guess you'd call it, like R2-D2 can easily slice through military-grade encryption, take over ships and other droids, and so forth. Hence the mandatory memory wipes for droids every so often.

    Why not just build droids so that they don't do that? Presumably because they can't. We never see any individuals make a droid completely from scratch, just assemble one from existing parts (most importantly using an existing droid "brain"). Droids are made by automated factories, which are made by construction droids, which are made by automated factories, and so on all the way back to droid manufacturing planets like Mechis III that have been pumping out droids since the early Old Republic days. And no one really knows who got the process started, nor does anyone bother having more than a token non-droid presence on such planets, preferring to leave everything up to whatever intelligence controls the manufacturing facilities. It's all probably hackishly pseudo-reverse-engineered from ancient Force-dependent tech like everything else.


    So you have a society where technology has been incrementally improving as best it can be without anyone really understanding the fundamental principles, in a galaxy where maybe they can't understand said fundamental principles--imagine if 99.99% of scientists and engineers just couldn't learn or work with quantum mechanics and all attendant technologies like CPU construction, and only the ones who were "Physics-sensitive" like Einstein or Turing could do anything with them, through inspiration by "the will of the Physics"!

    You can't dramatically increase the range of blaster-based weaponry to facilitate long-range precision warfare under Human control, because blaster tech has already been pushed as far as it can go, and shield tech has as well so you're stuck with a frustratingly slow arms race.

    You can't entirely computerize your military spacecraft because a group of sufficiently-independent and -intelligent droids could come along and suborn the whole fleet, or the entire fleet could be jammed and blinded with no known countermeasures.

    You can't replace your starfighter pilots with drone starfighters and your ground troops with combat drones, because the last time someone tried that the drones started saying "Roger roger!", developing sarcastic senses of humor, and going rogue.

    You can't have a well-defended central control computer that can resist such takeover attempts and coordinate the rest of your computerized fleets remotely through a hardened network, because (A) that also failed spectacularly before and (B) the jamming problem again. Plus, your very own central control computer might become too sentient and hijack itself, and wiping your entire fleet's databanks daily or weekly to keep that from happening simply isn't feasible.

    It's basically like the "can't have complex networks because Cylons can hack in and take over from the outside" problem from Battlestar Galactica, crossed with the "can't have anything approaching real AI because they'll gain sapience and take over from the inside" problem from Mass Effect...except that the Galactica can also awaken as a Cylon and even the navigation VIs on the Normandy can spontaneously develop into true AIs.

    So everyone is forced to rely on tried-and-true manual technology over automated repulsorcraft, human senses over computer analysis, living breathing people in barely-computerized spacecraft over autonomous drone starships, because they know none of those will go rogue. Everyone focuses on eking out that tiny 0.1% improvement in blaster ranges or data compression or whatever, adding a tiny brick to the massive monument that was the hand-me-down technology from ancient civilizations. Everyone desperately keep on top of the memory-wipe schedule for their droids and hope that the ones who develop sapience are nice people (and not like, say, EV-9D9 who gained sapience and promptly decided to modify other droids to be able to feel pain and then torture them to death, or IG-88 who gained sapience and then tried to make armies of itself) who don't want to bring galactic civilization crashing down around their ears.
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  2. - Top - End - #32
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    Default Re: What do you think scientists in the Star Wars galaxy are working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by McNum View Post
    As for why no one, other than Jedi and Sith, have messed much with Kyber crystals until the Death Star, it's actually pretty straightforward. When you go above lightsaber crystal size, Kyber becomes... mean. It's great at absorbing energy. Even ambient energy around them get absorbed. Unfortunately, they're even better at unleashing that energy as a catastrophic explosion. As seen in Rebels, if you shoot a moderately sized Kyber crystal, like one that would fit on a decent sized dining table, you had better have something the size of a Star Destroyer between you and it. Because when it goes, it goes a lot.

    They're basically well known as "Do not mess with unless you're a Jedi." because they are not worth the risk unless you're building something that actually does need to do a catastrophic level of energy release in a single moment. Then Kyber could work if you can find a way to handle them. And that's what Galen Erso figured out.

    Which, I suppose is what scientists and engineers in Star Wars do. Even though most technology is known, it could be that some fringe science actually could be tamed enough to work. Like how Kyber did have a proof of concept with the lightsabers. But it just scaled really poorly until that whole "explodes violently if you look at it wrong" issue was dealt with.
    There's that, and the fact that Kyber Crystals are also sentient, and have their own mental powers. Even Darth Vader got thrown for a loop building his red lightsaber and when you're dealing with something several times that size, activley attacking your mind, and capable of exploding with the force of a dozen nuclear warheads.

    They also flat out can't be synthesized without becoming even more dangerous, at least with current methods. Artificial Kyber will explode even more violently with even less warning(That is to say if you walk too quickly holding enough to fit in your pocket, it'll explode with the force of a thermal detonator, let alone any kind of transit turbulance).

    A lightsaber may be proof of concept, but it also can't be created by machine and has to be built with nothing physically touching any components.
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  3. - Top - End - #33
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    Default Re: What do you think scientists in the Star Wars galaxy are working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonexx View Post
    I always like this post.

    Originally Posted by Emerald
    My theory on why Star Wars tech is the way it is is a combination of two factors: incompletely-understood ancient technology and incredibly powerful AI. It's by no means official, so feel free to disregard it and laugh at me for being dumb.
    Of the two proposals, incompletely understood ancient technology is pretty clearly at work, if not in the movies, the EU and new EU are filled with examples of poorly understood but very powerful ancient tech.

    The problem with powerful AI is not rebellion or hacking but that AI was used extensively and proven inferior.

    The Separatists relied on droid armies powered by supercomputers...in Episodes I-III. In Episode I, the problem was the droids (including droid starships) were co-ordinated by a very sophisticated mothership which proved a problem when a nine year old kid blew it up. Episode II, introduced clones as a viable counter-measure to the drone army. By Episode III droid armies and automated ships were relegated to the scrapheap. EU cannon even prior to the prequel movies was that militarized droids were illegal and not in use, although the Empire didn't mind making use of a couple of droid bounty hunters.

    What we see in the original movies prove it: We don't see AI sufficiently powerful that humans are threatened by it. Moreover Humans don't fear robot rebellion. In the movies and a lot of material, imperials are simply dismissive of droids, conveniently allowing the rebel-friendly droids essentially unlimited access. Those terminals do not allow the droids to hack the ships though, and systems like the Death Star's tractor beam had to be taken down manually. This could be explained as a hacking countermeasure, but remote control hacking doesn't exist in the movies nor does anyone seem to fear the hacks, purely for obtaining information, that do occur.

    IIRC Lucas did not imagine the ubiquity or the power of computers back in the late 70's. There's also present an old Sci-Fi trope that advanced computation is hard but giving a robot a human personality and reactivity to stimuli is easy. The original lore stated that astromechs like R2D2 only had enough storage to contain 10 hyperspace jumps. Yet R2D2 clearly has a very sophisticated personality and ability to richly interact with his environment.

    Of course even accepting the principals of ancient technology is not well understood there are plenty more contradictions than just how AI is supposed to work. How the empire can make superweapons like the Death Star or Starkiller Base without advanced automation, including stuff like nanotechnology? Yet if they had nanotechnology, why isn't it ubiquitous and used for things like medicine? I believe canon remains that the Death Star was built by slaves.

    Starwars simply breaks down when one questions the technology too hard.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    It would have been awesome if the writers had put as much thought into it as you guys do.
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  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: What do you think scientists in the Star Wars galaxy are working on?

    I wonder if Galactic medicine was actually on a completely different track, compared to ours.
    I mean, they got a few things right. Prosthetics were at incredible heights.
    The bacta tanks were great, but here's the rub: bacta has unspecified origins. For all we know, it could have been very easy to procure, and produced directly by some alien living being, like milk.
    What I wonder is if Star Wars medicine actually was pretty bad. If they were lucky enough to have some species of chicken that laid eggs full of bacta, and, for anything else, they relied on some sort of force-theology influenced folk medicine. So, for example, they couldn't save a hemorrhaging parturient woman because their medicine didn't recognize blood loss as cause of death, and instead considered it the symptom of a loss of will to live, on which they had no power.

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    Default Re: What do you think scientists in the Star Wars galaxy are working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    I wonder if Galactic medicine was actually on a completely different track, compared to ours.
    I mean, they got a few things right. Prosthetics were at incredible heights.
    The bacta tanks were great, but here's the rub: bacta has unspecified origins. For all we know, it could have been very easy to procure, and produced directly by some alien living being, like milk.
    What I wonder is if Star Wars medicine actually was pretty bad. If they were lucky enough to have some species of chicken that laid eggs full of bacta, and, for anything else, they relied on some sort of force-theology influenced folk medicine. So, for example, they couldn't save a hemorrhaging parturient woman because their medicine didn't recognize blood loss as cause of death, and instead considered it the symptom of a loss of will to live, on which they had no power.
    According to google, in legends canon Bacta was synthesized. It was only made on a specific planet, but that was due more to tradition and proximity to required resources than a specific property of the planet. Before Bacta, they used Kolto, which was like Bacta but was in fact a biological creation of shark creatures on the ocean world Manaan. For various reasons, Kolto fell out of favor, the biggest reason being that the Selkath who controlled it ticked off both the republic and the sith empire equally.
    “Evil is evil. Lesser, greater, middling, it's all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I'm not a pious hermit, I haven't done only good in my life. But if I'm to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: What do you think scientists in the Star Wars galaxy are working on?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keltest View Post
    According to google, in legends canon Bacta was synthesized. It was only made on a specific planet, but that was due more to tradition and proximity to required resources than a specific property of the planet. Before Bacta, they used Kolto, which was like Bacta but was in fact a biological creation of shark creatures on the ocean world Manaan. For various reasons, Kolto fell out of favor, the biggest reason being that the Selkath who controlled it ticked off both the republic and the sith empire equally.
    It was made on multiple planets from plants grown and harvested there. This is something made clear in the actual books.
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