Project Orphius

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Project Orphius

Post by jacenwesiri » 2013-08-11 21:29

Designation: External Hanger Pod

Purpose: This will be a way to increase carrier's, or potentially any large capital ship's, star fighter capacity by allowing for a module that can carry some TIE droids.

Application: Borrowing the idea from the 'blisters' on older Mon Cal carriers, this will be a module that would be attached to the hull, containing a rack or racks of TIE droids. TIE Droids being selected, as they are droids, so no need to allow pilots easy access, so it can be placed externally, and since they don't carry missiles, it would make it simpler logistically. The Rack would be covered with a fairly thin metal shell (strong enough to protect against the occasional meteorite. Additional components might include a power source or fuel storage. On a signal from flight control, this would launch TIE Droids as commanded. After completing their mission, or in need of refueling, or because of damage, the TIE Droids would return, and be guided by an automated landing system with a low power tractor beam, and be placed back on the rack. The system would then resupply and perform a diagnostic in tandem with a self diagnostic, and very basic repairs if deemed necessary, and ready the fighters for relaunching them. A technician, or perhaps a few technicians would be on hand to make sure things work in case of a malfunction.

Outside of battle, a crew could periodically go out and bring some (or all) of the TIE droids to the hanger for maintenance and to replace fracked fighters as needed.

Most of the technology wouldn't really be all that different than a docking ring. The main differences is that this wouldn't require designing a ship and building it from scratch with one. Also, it wouldn't necessarily weaken the hull like a docking ring would, allowing for some potential uses by line ships. (There are problems with this, but this would be an advantage over a docking ring.) More on how this works later.

Schedule: 2 months for a basic version.

Visual Description: This would be variable. It could be more rectangular in shape, or look more organic like the old Mon Cal cruisers. Really, the basic features would be such that the appearance could be changed, subject to the whims of the admiralty and whatever happens to be available.

Technical Specifications: The shell containing the system would be as described earlier. It would be attached loosely to the armor of a capital ship of sufficient size. If it would carry its own power source and fuel independently, then it could be attached with magnetic clamps with negligible loss of armor strength. This would have the obvious weakness of making it more difficult to resupply, and the technicians would probably have to take a transport back and forth between shifts (unless you want to make them walk along the hull of the ship to the nearest airlock.) Otherwise, it would necessitate creating some small gaps in the ship's armor to allow for it to receive the needed power and fuel, and potentially an airlock. (The airlock would have to be bigger than the fixtures for the power and fuel, and would be more subject to the ship's internal layout.)

Larger models could have multiple racks. For commonality purposes, there would be a minimum size restriction for those only using one rack. Of course, there would also be minimum size restriction, as placing something like this on too small of a ship would unbalance the ship. Obviously, designing a ship to be able to support this would increase the allowable size. My guess is that no ship of less than 400 CP could handle this if it wasn't designed for it, and that no less than 600 CP if not. Additionally, with a ship modified to accept one of these, there would be an increased squadron capacity. Obviously, two could be used on smaller ships if positioned in such a way as to balance the ship out. However, the maneuverability and speed penalties for increased mass would still remain. For how many could be mounted on a ship, aside from the balancing issue. How about another set could be added after a ship reaches 1000 meters long, and additional ones for every 1000 meters after that. Based on geometry, a larger ship might be able to support more, at the mod's discretion. As for the size of them. They would be limited on say a star destroyer, because too large of a hanger pod would reduce the advantages of the wedge shaped hull. On a carrier, this would be less of an issue, and mainly limited from shield size. So, let's go with one rack up off the hull normally, with geometry allowing for more (basically, if you'd be able to place it in a niche in the hull, you could get more), and the more racks you'd put on, the more complex it would be. It's not insurmountable with current technology, but there's issues. So how about 3 racks maximum, with 1 squadron each would give 3 squadrons per pod. 1 rack for ships less than 800 meters, 2 racks for ships between 800 and 1600, and 3 racks for ships larger than 1600.

Weaknesses: At the very least, this would reduce the maneuverability. These pods would also be easy targets for attack, which would be especially problematic with the necessity of lowering shields momentarily for the fighters to launch. This would limit it's usefulness for line ships. Additionally, increasing the mass would make the capital ship slower, but the effect would be more pronounced on smaller capital ships.
There would be a reduction of effectiveness if the ship in question would be caught unprepared while servicing the fighters.

Projected Upgrades:
increased logistical support for things like missiles.
Better support for the possibility of dropping the hanger pods off before combat for acting autonomously. The big problem is that this would probably require a stronger shell, as it would be a sitting duck otherwise, and that it would require some flight control systems on board. Though perhaps the possibility of launching fighters, dropping them someplace safe and picking them up again after combat wouldn't require the flight control systems.
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Re: Project Orphius

Post by Medusa » 2016-02-06 19:47

This is rather old, but anyway. Prowlers Mk-II are no different of containers with engines. In fact, are basically that.

Besides, TIE/dr are stated as worst pilots than real ones. Have their uses, though, like the drones nowadays, as bigger, self-defending probots. Or if you install smaller simpler droids, as self-deployable, persistent laser mines. Or Ion mines. Even with smaller mines on-board to deploy when about to be destroyed.

I even made my own manned TIE/drA 'Drake' for the Army, as those are basically refined, 'corners-cut' TIE/In (figuratively and literally), and so I thought ideal to replace bazillions Army TIE/Ln. But I digress.

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Re: Project Orphius

Post by Abraxes Rancor » 2016-02-06 20:42

Hello, Medusa. Glad to see a new? Face around here.


Anyways, usually unless a topic is a discussion in IDOMIR it is normally open only open to the Opening Poster and an IDOMIR mod unless another is invited in. (Usually by pm or the R&D commentary thread). Speaking of which, others may comment on such projects in the R&D commentary thread if they choose to make a suggestion on a specific project. Posts there may be moved by Mods to the project thread itself.

If you are an old member, or a new one wanting to be an Idomir mod, please contact an admin with an application for your status to be upgraded.

As it stands, welcome aboard. If you have any questions please read the member's manual:
http://www.nifrpg.net/database/member_manual.shtml

Ask in the Academy subforum or if you need some help. Please feel free to pm spyker, or if noone else is around please feel free to pm me on this account.

I can help with general topics and character creation, should you want some assistance.

Thanks, and a have a good one.

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Re: Project Orphius

Post by Medusa » 2016-02-07 01:30

Thanks! (and 'sorry about the mess'). I tried to contact you before about a project of yours, the Observer II. Aside of speed or length, it seemed like a lightened Exuberant-class to me. But you seem to have disabled PM.

Obviously I didn't know that rule, but I can't find it in http://www.nifrpg.net/database/member_m ... l#research (3.0.4.1) either. I consider myself a tech junkie. I lurked the designs, made modifications, 'retired' redundant ones. I am not unfamiliar with play-by-mail RPG games: I played at http://startrek.acalltoduty.com

However, I registered not to play but... guilt of not contributing back some. I'd like to say I am here to play, as this site seems a little... undermanned, and that is kind of sad. But that wasn't the reason. If playing is a must, then I understand if I am asked to leave or stop disrupting the normal functioning of the site. But I am here because of the designs and the ideas behind those.

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Re: Project Orphius

Post by Abraxes Rancor » 2016-02-07 02:02

No that thread was locked, by Fini.

My pm system is in full edit: 90% working order now.

Either way you can just manually pm me in a pm.

As for the Observer ii. After it was locked the convo moved to pm and so far , between us to paraphrase, "you kinda have a point."

I may choose to ask him to unlock it so we can just dumpthe pms in there, ill have to think about it.
But Whether he takes that further and talks to Ace about a new flag for TFO, idk?

Balls in his court.

As it stands, while not the only draw of the board is for IC involvement, we had another player tom saint later become an idomir mod. While "IC" his character basically stuck to the RP of finished Idomir projects.

That was sort of the happy medium It hink was involved in that case.

You don't have to go off into the abyss as it were, and if you want to make a few comments in the future do so on the R and D commentary thread, if you want to become an idomir mod just apply to Ace (otherwise known as kane)
memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=54

Hes pretty muchthe. Only admin that is on at least once a month. Sadly a few haven't been seen in years .

Anyways, if you want to keep to OOC discusions thats fine. No one is to say you *have* to rp.

Just use the R&D COMMENTARY thread in the meantime until you are either confirmed as an IDOMIR mod. Or just want to hang out. Each is cool.

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Re: Project Orphius

Post by jacenwesiri » 2016-02-15 06:09

Medusa wrote:This is rather old, but anyway. Prowlers Mk-II are no different of containers with engines. In fact, are basically that.

Besides, TIE/dr are stated as worst pilots than real ones. Have their uses, though, like the drones nowadays, as bigger, self-defending probots. Or if you install smaller simpler droids, as self-deployable, persistent laser mines. Or Ion mines. Even with smaller mines on-board to deploy when about to be destroyed.

I even made my own manned TIE/drA 'Drake' for the Army, as those are basically refined, 'corners-cut' TIE/In (figuratively and literally), and so I thought ideal to replace bazillions Army TIE/Ln. But I digress.
The basic idea here was to create something that could temporarily increase the number of fighter squadrons as needed. Basically, something to allow for flexibility for short term missions that required it without having to build dedicated carriers. I know there's usually little discussion about cost efficiency, but realistically, the main strength would be a cost effective way of doing that. The main downside to this is that it would increase the mass of the ship, reducing speed, and be relatively farther from the center of mass, which would reduce maneuverability. However, for capital ships flying in formation somewhere, this is not that big of an issue, as most capital ships are too powerful for many of those situations with the restriction of a formation around slower ships.

Anyways, TIE/dr are stated to be worse than living trained pilots. At this point, I'm not sure if I entirely agree with that. Realistically, any TIE/dr would have programming that would be continuously adapted and improved. Perhaps the initial run wasn't using the best hardware and a rather hacked together software for the AI, but this would be expected to be improved as time would go on. Eventually, with the faster reflexes and better performance, the unmanned TIE/dr should be able to outperform any manned fighter. There's a lot of weight that goes into making a fighter to be able to handle a pilot in real life, and I would assume that it would be much the same way in Star Wars. Say when you look at a TIE/ln, what do you see? You see a giant ball designed to house the pilot, a heavy pilot with a heavy space suit that's designed to enable said person to survive, and then a lot of display panels and flight control equipment. Remove all that, and you take away a lot of weight and space that you can use for other things, as well as having easier design requirements allowing for a more capable and otherwise more cost effective fighter.

Any links for the TIE/drA?
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Re: Project Orphius

Post by Medusa » 2016-02-15 09:03

jacenwesiri wrote:The basic idea here was to create something that could temporarily increase the number of fighter squadrons as needed. Basically, something to allow for flexibility for short term missions that required it without having to build dedicated carriers ... it would increase the mass of the ship, reducing speed, and be relatively farther from the center of mass, which would reduce maneuverability
Worst consequence would be degraded hyperspace capability, if at all capable. Most ships are precluded externally docked ships for the very same reason. But I see your point.
jacenwesiri wrote:TIE/dr would have programming that would be continuously adapted and improved. Perhaps the initial run wasn't using the best hardware and a rather hacked together software for the AI, but this would be expected to be improved as time would go on.
Certainly, but we see otherwise when considering almost no progress have been made between clone wars fighter droids and TIE/dr. To the point Shadow Droid cyborgs were deployed instead.
jacenwesiri wrote:You see a giant ball designed to house the pilot, a heavy pilot with a heavy space suit that's designed to enable said person to survive, and then a lot of display panels and flight control equipment. Remove all that, and you take away a lot of weight and space that you can use for other things, as well as having easier design requirements allowing for a more capable and otherwise more cost effective fighter.

Any links for the TIE/drA?
That is why, if you can't make it smarter, you can make it dumber and smaller for certain missions, taking advantage of reclaimed storage space.

About the TIE/drA, soon. Lets have the Pupa-class approved or dismissed first. Also, most of TIE/drA is based heavily on assumptions made here.

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Re: Project Orphius

Post by Kane » 2016-02-16 01:24

jacenwesiri wrote:Anyways, TIE/dr are stated to be worse than living trained pilots. At this point, I'm not sure if I entirely agree with that. Realistically, any TIE/dr would have programming that would be continuously adapted and improved. Perhaps the initial run wasn't using the best hardware and a rather hacked together software for the AI, but this would be expected to be improved as time would go on. Eventually, with the faster reflexes and better performance, the unmanned TIE/dr should be able to outperform any manned fighter. There's a lot of weight that goes into making a fighter to be able to handle a pilot in real life, and I would assume that it would be much the same way in Star Wars
The problem isn't limitation of technology when even a Gonk power droid can achieve self-awareness and found a new religion.

The problem is that advanced droids equals slaves and to avoid them getting ideas they're for the most part intentionally made stupid and gets factory reset every week or so to keep them that way.

IMHO, there's no inevitable biological-artificial conflict a la Mass Effect, but there's been droid uprisings in the past, six IIRC. We know that advanced assassin droids exist, but they're highly restricted for good reasons.

Basically SW droids are built too well for their purpose when they all have the capacity to develop sapience but are only expected to perform specialized functions.

Basically, what happens when your TIE/dr/advanced or somesuch decides to go on strike for better working conditions, or just decide to take off into deep space instead of being used as weapons of war until they die? Those just being some of the more benign problems that can arise.

It's the droid equivalent of going insane, and what it tells me is that droids aren't programmed to function like proper sapient beings; it's a rare coincidence if they happen to develop like one, or the rare case of a custom built droid (C-3PO and R2-D2 falls into this category, but also replicants like Guri). They could be made better... but then they would be people, and would have to be recognized as such or problems follow suite. Alternatively, they could be made worse. The current situation is something of a neither-either.
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Re: Project Orphius

Post by jacenwesiri » 2016-02-16 03:24

I guess I imagined it that after each battle, all the memory from each surviving TIE/dr is uploaded into a mainframe and analyzed. Overtime, this collective experienced is analyzed, and then used to update the various protocols built within the system. So let's talk about combat maneuvers. Initially, there might be basic routines, with some leeway for each unit to experiment, or perhaps some deliberate variations could be introduced. After each battle, the data from surviving units (by surviving, this would include damaged or destroyed ones where the memory cores were successfully salvaged) would be uploaded to the net. Additional data would be created by simulations, or perhaps war games between different squadrons or even live pilots. After a while, enough data would be accumulated to analyze results in a statistically significant way. This would then be used to create an upgrade to the various processes, and the cycle would start over.

I'd imagine that there should be enough data and computing power in a TIE/dr, that the TIE/dr could analyze enemy flight patterns to suggest optimal maneuvers and tactics to maximize chances of a win. Most living pilots wouldn't have the skills of say Aquila or Viktor. After a few cycles, I'd imagine that the standard default capabilities would eventually exceed that. Eventually reaching the point of Big Blue vs Kasparov. Once you get there, I'd imagine that most non-jedi pilots would be placed in a bad position of risking death each time, but even if said pilot won the encounter, there's a non-trivial chance that the other side got data from the fight, meaning that next time the enemy fighter might be more deadly than before. I'm confident that it would get to a point where the effort to train a normal pilot to the necessary levels to be competitive could be worth the expense.That said, Jedi have other advantages that would make it worth while, but most people aren't Jedi.

I know droids can go insane, or attain sentience. I don't believe that a droid being iterated upon as described above would be at risk of either possibility. I guess it's possible that a droid could do it if it weren't updated sufficiently often. Or perhaps, some compromise could exist.

As a thought experiment, perhaps every fighter in a certain squadron could be uploaded with a mental image of a droid intelligence. After the battle, all the data is reuploaded to that droid intelligence. Periodically, backups of the droid intelligence are made. So long as the droid stays within normal operating parameters, it would be free to grow and explore as it sees fit, within certain bounds. How would the droid grow overtime? Would it improve? Even if it were permitted say to read romance novels, that could be an incentive for it winning a battle. Realistically, so long as the main system is kept isolated, I'd hazard a guess that it wouldn't necessarily matter how mad it became or if it started thinking for itself. Perhaps mad droid pilots would allow for an interesting surprise? After all, imagine being a pilot knowing certain patterns are normal and then seeing the enemy deliberately break them? It doesn't have to happen a lot to force an enemy into being forced to prepare for such a thing just about every time.
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Re: Project Orphius

Post by Medusa » 2016-02-16 08:38

jacenwesiri wrote:The basic idea here was to create something that could temporarily increase the number of fighter squadrons as needed. Basically, something to allow for flexibility for short term missions that required it without having to build dedicated carriers
I'll try to sideline that TIE/dr conundrum, but lets state again: worst consequence would be degraded hyperspace capability, if at all capable. Most ships are precluded externally docked ships for the very same reason. *HOWEVER*, reading more carefully through you original proposal, I understand those field made blisters would be evenly distributed and take into account such dangerous stresses.

Being for short term missions, as temporal increases, without involving more carriers in that punctual operation, I assume you are planning to use the blisters to achieve a certain degree of surprise, deploying more fighters than expected. That could work, maybe even more than once. You don't even need TIE/dr, as for that kind of short missions even piloted ones can wait out there for the short jump duration.

BUT those fighters, piloted, unmanned or otherwise have to be there in the first place, coming from an XQ-1 Platform, planetary garrisons, escort carriers or other vessels. So the 'carriers' (and fighters and blisters) have to be built nonetheless, but I assume your strategy involves surprising the enemy with fewer ships, or attacking some point that for whatever reasons preclude a high capital ship count deployment.

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Re: Project Orphius

Post by Kane » 2016-02-16 19:36

jacenwesiri wrote:I guess I imagined it that after each battle, all the memory from each surviving TIE/dr is uploaded into a mainframe and analyzed.
That just means all the TIE/dr being upgraded will behave in a similar manner. It doesn't change the base problem of them evolving to self-awareness with unpredictable results.
jacenwesiri wrote:As a thought experiment, perhaps every fighter in a certain squadron could be uploaded with a mental image of a droid intelligence. After the battle, all the data is reuploaded to that droid intelligence. Periodically, backups of the droid intelligence are made. So long as the droid stays within normal operating parameters, it would be free to grow and explore as it sees fit, within certain bounds. How would the droid grow overtime? Would it improve? Even if it were permitted say to read romance novels, that could be an incentive for it winning a battle. Realistically, so long as the main system is kept isolated, I'd hazard a guess that it wouldn't necessarily matter how mad it became or if it started thinking for itself. Perhaps mad droid pilots would allow for an interesting surprise? After all, imagine being a pilot knowing certain patterns are normal and then seeing the enemy deliberately break them? It doesn't have to happen a lot to force an enemy into being forced to prepare for such a thing just about every time.
If you ask me, the problem isn't that a droid can get better at performing its functions. It's the fact that they aren't properly built to be people. Normal people have relatively set personality and motivations to suit said personality while droid can be said to be a tabula rasa - dysfunctionality of droids is largely a consequence of environmental development. The solution, in my mind, is then to give the droids a set personality to start with. But that solution creates its own problem, droids then being actual people rather than clever machinery.

That dualistic problem has been given an address in various media; Mass Effect and Schlock Mercenary comes to mind. You have two levels of AI where missiles have reasoning but are simple-minded (or in the author's words, kinda stupid) Synthetic Intelligences and fully sapient A.I. albeit with certain hardwired core behaviour like appearance or chain of command. This also occasionally results in them going bonkers aka feral or rogue. In Schlockverse, any robot who is sapient (1.0 or better on the intelligence scale) also gets frequent backups for their core behaviour and memories while missiles don't. Or in the case of Mass Effect, Virtual Intelligences which are clever programs but can't change their core behaviour), while the ship AI (EDI) is a fully sapient personality (who originally went berserk by the way).

Meanwhile SW droids are all built to be fully sapient and are kept under the thumb to avoid them becoming real people. That's an inherently unstable situation.

IMO, it can only be permanently solved by creating a distinct border between simulated intelligence and true intelligence. Because presently there isn't one.
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Re: Project Orphius

Post by jacenwesiri » 2016-02-17 04:12

I guess I would say with droids, that there's a lot of things, perhaps most things, they are potentially intrinsically better. They can have perfect or near perfect response time. They can calculate just about everything faster than a human can, and respond accordingly. What drives all that is the software that's been written, at least in the real world, by a human. The tricky part is once you get to algorithms that can to a certain extent write themselves. I've messed around with genetic algorithms once or twice before, but that's little more than scratching the surface of what's possible in real life. Here', we're really speculating on what the self writing codes might be capable of doing in perhaps a few thousand years. I'm mentioning self writing codes, because as I understand it, the idea is that droids in Star Wars gain their sentience as a result of them utilizing various self writing codes to improve themselves. It makes sense to allow a droid to self optimize its routines, the idea seems to be that after a while, the droid gains a personality that's indistinguishable from a sentient person. To what extent they actually are sentient is another matter.

Dare I say, it's not a tangible threshold, perhaps more of a zone in which it might happen. Somewhere along the line as the droid self improves, it's software is sufficiently changed that it attains sentience. As an aside, it seems rather reminiscent about some of the futurists who preach about how the singularity is near. I know Spyker believes that, but I don't.
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Re: Project Orphius

Post by Medusa » 2016-02-17 09:24

jacenwesiri wrote:it seems rather reminiscent about some of the futurists who preach about how the singularity is near
In real world is a matter of speculation.

But in Star Wars is a matter of fact:

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Re: Project Orphius

Post by jacenwesiri » 2016-02-28 22:13

No, it's a matter of speculation.

The first example you cited refers to the "Great Droid Revolution", which refers to a time when a specially made assassin droid started reprogramming other droids to act in a certain way. It seems to suggest that he was programmed to be sentient, or pseudo-sentience would be a better word for it, and that acting on that pseudo-sentience, he went and started reprogramming other droids along similar lines. So in other words, that time, it was instigated by an outside force towards that end.

The second example you cited refers to an incident where a mad individual decided to try to reprogram droids to that end. Again, there's an outside force that instigated it, not the droids themselves.

The third example you cited was from a horrible story written by KJ Anderson from Tales of the Bounty Hunters. The basic premise was that IG-88 was programmed to be sentient, so there again, we have the sentience being imposed by an outside force, not by itself.

Really, it's just a black box as to how it happens. I'm still inclined to believe that what's really going on is that the droids have a limited ability to rewrite their programming towards certain ends, to allow for them to better perform their individual tasks, a limited ability to learn per se. Something along the lines of a Heuristic Processor. Perhaps the idea would be to use excess computing resources to try to emulate a heuristic processor. My guess is that eventually, the droid would come to an edge case where something needs to be done, but the best option or options are prohibited for conflicting with some definitions or restraints within the program. So, the droid is compelled to start bend restrictions, perhaps to reason out an expansion of the definitions that would permit that? I'm using the word reason, because we do have Automated Theorem Proving. Let me phrase it like this, it's so easy that even I could figure it out. ;) I'd guess that overtime, with enough edge cases, that a droid could expand the restrictions being placed on it enough to effectively break any restrictions that are by necessity placed on it. That theory would fit with what we know, in that it takes time for a droid to break its programming in order to achieve sentience. Still, perhaps it's a bit too neat to really describe what's going on with it.
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Re: Project Orphius

Post by Kane » 2016-02-29 00:41

I'm inclined to agree with Jacen about the self-learning algorithms. Asimov's robot series have hardwired robots that aren't supposed to ever be able to violate their three laws, yet what his books deal with are situations where they did so anyway.

But the threat of a droid revolution is still there, it's just not a foregone conclusion like in the Mass Effect series.
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Medusa
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Re: Project Orphius

Post by Medusa » 2016-03-01 17:55

OK, so far. There was a link down below in all those pages that noted several similar incidents. Discarding the ones about foreign manipulation, we still have a renegade group commanding a Victory Star Destroyer, whereabouts unknown, a long, long time ago, already dealt with galactic secession associated with a certain type of mass produced droid, and a similar case of transcendence, also dealt with.

It seems in a Galaxy wide droid manufacturing infrastructure, punctual, accidental and serendipitous mishaps happen all the time, somewhere else. But threaten the whole.

Also, this pests. This certain Hutt has hit the same rock twice.

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