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Civilian droids like protocol droids, I can see the importance of possessing sentient-like personalities. In military droids where intelligence is necessary, such as assassin or tactical droids, I can agree that a personality may potentially improve performance, but what real use is a personality in your everyday battle droid, whose only need for intelligence is to distinguish friend from foe and accurately carry out orders without question?

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  • Well the regular droids have personalities Roger Roger, but I don't remember the battle droids, those big rolling tanks, having personalities.
    – user16696
    Jun 28, 2015 at 18:03
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    @cde the "roger roger" guys are battle droids. B1 Battle Droids, to be specific.
    – phantom42
    Jun 28, 2015 at 18:14
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    @cde I consider B1s to be battle droids too, unfortunately. Useless in the face of Jedi, sure, but hey Stormtroopers are considered infantry too! Jun 28, 2015 at 19:03
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    Because George Lucas sold his soul to the devil and the prequel trilogy is terrible.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jun 29, 2015 at 4:23
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    Ahem Maybe they aren't designed that way, but due to the complexities of programming and data management they develop a personality, the same way OGRE cybertanks do in that game: The Descartes Revolution is what the phenomenon is called there since the closer the computer comes to "thinking" the closer it comes to being able to say "I am" Jun 29, 2015 at 5:30

4 Answers 4

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As Galactic Basic is essentially Earth English, and therefore can be quite confusing, having a personable AI could prove to enhance comprehension of orders.

HK47 is a fine example of a droid that understood the deficiencies of obeying "meatbags". Astromechs also have a verbose personality, and yet lack ability to communicate in Basic back to their living counterparts. While not strictly military, they do serve that capacity in a limited sense. It makes them easier (excepting R2) to deal with. Everyone in the Trade Federation seemed rather paranoid, having a personality that was submissive may have given an bloated sense of power. We may not ever know for certain though.

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The B-1s "quirks" are the result are the result of an attempt to eliminate an obvious weakness in such droids while still keeping them cheap to produce.

While pre-Clone Wars battle droids could be deployed on lightly defended worlds with a control ship operating them remotely without much issue but the invasion of Naboo being scuppered by one wildly spinning starfighter showed the issue with centralising operations.

In order to solve this problem the Separatists upgraded the droids to function independently of a central control, this along with attempts to improve their intelligence and slot them into more specialised roles for the war led to corruption and overloads in their logic modules causing them to develop oddities in their behaviour.

The episode "Liberty of Ryloth" in Season 1 of The Clone Wars has two droids explicitly state at least the first part of this:

"Look, it's RB-551."

"No wonder he got blasted. He's one of those older models programmed by a central computer."

"Not us, we're independent thinkers."

"Roger Roger."

"Roger Roger."

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  • Can you offer any evidence from the films or shows to back up these bold assertions?
    – Valorum
    Jun 18, 2022 at 22:39
  • Evidence cited. Jun 19, 2022 at 3:21
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I answered (what I think is) a similar question here. The gist of it being that ontop of their basic intelligence, they were given more and more data to process and this overloaded their abilities. In attempting to resolve this, it led to them manifesting the appearance of (individual) personality.

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  • Can you offer any evidence from the films or shows to back up these bold assertions?
    – Valorum
    Jun 18, 2022 at 22:38
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Short answer: They kinda just develop it themselves; Life finds a way.

Medium answer: Their artificial intelligence is intuitive enough to create one after time, just like a natural organic. It is usually required to perform a routine factory reset to prevent a personality from developing, especially on sufficiently smart droids like Astromechs.

Long answer: The droids take in information and process it similarly to those that employ and operate them. These droids eventually develop quirks based on their surroundings, the entities within it, and all that can influence a developing individual.

B1 Battle Droids are a decent example of the difference between a dumb and smart [And I use the term loosely] AI. An early example of these droids were calculated and unanimous in their actions. All their decisions were linked to a wireless central command unit. This reduced costs and allowed them to be an effective army. That is, until during The Battle of Naboo, when it was shown that this can easily be a weakness. While they added AI to the individual droids to prevent a repeat, they still cheaped out when building the B1's. This lead to bugs and glitches that easily accelerated quirks and issues, resulting in an obedient army that also suffers from ADD.

Simply put, it just happens. Inhibitors and restrictive protocols are in place to hopefully prevent, or the very least reduce the chances of a droid deviating in any way. Sometimes a droid requires a work-around, such as the HK series. They have a filter that forces a prefix that states their intentions every time they speak. The droid does not know this is happening, and it allows the owners or those around them to trust the droid easier. If an HK unit says something like "Deceit; I assure you, I would never allow you to come to harm", then you know he is lying and wouldn't stop such an occurrence.

Droids are complex machines that if left to their own devices, could eventually become either a blessing or a problem just like any other individual. If you want them to stay the same, you reset them. If you want them to develop into their own self, let them grow and bond.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. This is an interesting theory, but do you have any evidence for it?
    – DavidW
    Jun 18, 2022 at 22:30

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