We need to make C-3POs

Generated Bing Image Creator with the prompt “C-3PO loving looking at his creator”

I, like most of the internet, have been thinking a lot about all things generative AI. It started with images and yet somehow its the text generation that has really blown the world away.

Creating image based on other images felt like a more natural step, but writing is thinking so if a computer can write as well as any human what’s to say its not thinking, what’s to say its not alive.

To add to this I just started ready God, Human, Animal, machine and its already got my mind racing with questions about the nature of intelligence and of the the differences between the four title characters of Meghan O'Gieblyn‘s book.

All of this has coincided with a resurgance of Star Wars, thanks to our friends at Disney+. One of the defining elements of the Star Wars universe that I dont feel like gets nearly enough attention are the driods. Almost all sci-fi has have advanced robotics of all kinds. David from Alien covenant is one of my favorite extreme examples. But David is on the other side of the uncanny valley. David is trying to pass for human and in the movie is played by a human.

Star Wars driods are different and in my mind paint the clearest picture of the types of intelligence that I hope we are all working towards.

No one confuses C-3PO or BB 8 for humans but they so clearly have personalities and emotions. BB-8 and R2D2 are somewhere closer to a robot domesticated animal while c-3po is a robot human but they are also unapologetically metal. Even the way the humans interact with them tells an interesting story. Theres an emotional connection between Luke and Ray their driods but there’s also always and understanding that these are just machines at the end of the day. My favorite example of this dynamic is this scene from the rise of sky walker where they have to decide weather or not to wipe c-3pos memory, effectively killing him.

It’s an emotional moment for sure but once they realize what has to be done they don’t hesitate or struggle their decision the way a similar impossible decision is handled in the movie i watched last night “Knock at the Cabin”

Clearly theres a lot in all this to continue to unpack but one thing I know for sure. I want to see us continue to evolve our AI technologies rapidly. But also that its critical to maintain some distance. We can and should have emotional relationships with these personalities but Star Wars shows us a way to do that without confusing them for human.

Lots more to come from me on this topic I’m sure but for now I’ll end with GPT powered summary of this post:

This document discusses the author's thoughts on generative AI and the nature of intelligence, inspired by the resurgence of Star Wars and the droids in the franchise. The author argues that the droids in Star Wars, such as C-3PO and BB-8, have personalities and emotions that are distinct from humans, and that we should continue to evolve AI technologies while maintaining a critical distance.