What Star Wars teaches us about technology

After having watched “The Force Awakens“, for the third time, the thing I like the most is the lack of technology. Considering the movie is set 30 years after ROTJ, one would expect technology would be more pervasive, and although the droids have evolved, they have not become human-like (in appearance, C-3PO is a bipedal robot, but is not really that human like). This may be because of the diversity of characters found in the Star Wars universe – why create humanoid-like robots when so many different lifeforms exist? Also, let’s face it for most tasks robots don’t need to look like humans. We can develop robots to pick apples or mow lawns, but they don’t have to be humanoid-like.

Also in the SW universe there are very few “personal communications devices”, which maybe makes sense, because “galactic” roaming charges would be mind-blowing. Han doesn’t have a mobile device, nor does Darth Vader. There are Comlinks, but these are limited to voice-based communication. Even the droids didn’t seem to possess built-in communications, as Luke Skywalker uses a comlink to attempt to communicate with C-3PO in the trash-compactor scene in A New Hope, yet C-3PO has left his comlink on a table. No built-in communications, no wireless (or if there is wireless, why does R2-D2 always have to do a hard-link with other computers). No miniaturized head gear? This is a universe where hyperspace is a reality, holographic displays work quite well, and technology is on the whole fairly advanced.

swcomlink

What Star Wars teaches us is that technology does not need to be omnipresent. It can exist, and be useful for improving our lives, but it does not have to eclipse us.

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