Star Wars Script Leaked!!!
“It’s true. All of it. The dark side, the Jedi, they’re real,” Han said for the eight time that day.
Or so thought Rey. She’d heard him repeat this tale so many times that she didn’t even bother rolling her eyes. “Uh-huh”, she mumbled.
“Dad, why don’t we talk about our horoscope instead? Or, tell Finn about the time Uncle-Luke triple backward somersaults to catch a lightsaber with his eyelashes to fight a dozen Stormtroopers with his pinkie and beat them all without breaking a sweat.”
Finn visibly flinched at the mention of Stormtroopers. He looked pained, and cast his eyes downward. Rey immediately regretted her choice of words. She had meant to tease her dad, not Finn who had been with them for three months now. Working hard, all day. Taking on whatever task what at hand, never complaining. She’s almost forgotten that he had been a Stormtrooper until recently.
She looked in Finn’s direction and muttered a “sorry”.
“It’s okay,” said Finn. “I’m… I’m…”
“Look,” Rey spoke loudly this time. “We understand. A lot of people join them because they’re told that they will actually be protecting the people, or simply because that’s the only way to make a living. It’s okay. The important thing is that you left, willingly.”
Finn reddened even more after that. He squirmed and let out a breath.
“I think I need to come clean. You two have been so kind to me for the past three months. I didn’t leave willingly.” Another breath.
“I was laid off.”
Rey and Han both raised their eyebrows in tandem. They had the same mannerisms, despite being so different in their outlook at times that one would doubt they were father and daughter. Rey had her mother’s keen intellect, and had become one of the top computer scientists in the New Republic. Heck, she was probably among the top experts in artificial intelligence in the known universe.
After the disaster with the Jedi leadership, her mother had made sure Rey had an upbringing as far away from superstition as possible. Tucked away at on a remote planet, she had studied math, logic, systems design. “No more mumbo jumbo,” her mom had frequently said. Resources in the New Republic were dwindling, but her mom had used her military rank to place her with everything she needed to learn, study and experiment, and be safe, away from the control of the First Order. Rey had also studied human psychology and history, and knew the cost of irrational, short-sighted decision-making by charismatic, bombastic leaders. The darn “Jedi” and their mumbo jumbo. The past decade had been defeat after defeat for the remnants of the New Republic. The human universe lay in shatters.
Rey tried not to think of that now, though. She was genuinely startled.
“Laid off? What do you mean laid off? I thought you had left?”
Finn let it out. “Yes, laid off.”
“I joined in the last wave of hiring, when they took on people the thousands with the recruitment call for Stormtroopers — or as they called us, Storm-Turkers which many pronounced in Geonosis accent as “M-Turkers.” Most of us were novices, but some had been there a while. It was bizarre. We spent the whole day in simulated battles; groups divided into two or three warring factions. And sometimes there would be other scenarios. We would find ourselves making a plan against the other team to blow up a command center, or defending the place. All day, every day. Sometimes the same team, sometimes new people.
At the end of the day, they would download all our actions from the suit. And then there would be surveys, surveys, interviews and more surveys. ‘Why did you pick that route?’ ‘Did you think fighting with the squadron leader wasn’t worth the embarrassment even though he was leading you down the wrong path, and you knew about it? Why? Why? Why?’
Rey squinted. “Hmm”, she said. “Interesting. So they wanted to know why you did every step. We know the Stormtrooper uniforms are data capture machines, a gig of data per millisecond, everything from eye tracking to whether you wiggle your toes to the cortisol levels. The initial design of the full data capture suites was justified by saying they were to make sure Stormtroopers didn’t violate rules of engagement. But we know how that goes: we have data, so let’s analyze it for everything else. But you can only go so much with observational data with humans. Too Skinnerian.” She stopped herself, since they wouldn’t understand. “So they wanted to match their observational data to internal states.”
“I don’t know why”, Finn continued, visibly relieved to be finally coming clean.
“We tried to figure it all out in the dorms at night but they banned us from talking about it. We don’t want you gaming it, they said. They especially got mad if you tried to make up a logical reason. I got yelled at, ‘no, no, no ’M-Turker, describe don’t rationalize’, so many times. They started switching dorm assignments so we wouldn’t ‘cook the answers’ as they said. It was grueling.”
Finn imitated the mechanic sound of his interviewer: “Come on, ’M-Turkers. M-Turker 2187, tell us again what exactly you were thinking as you rushed down the path in the maze game that you knew to be wrong. Stop making up a story. Think and describe. Don’t make up a story now. Think and describe, if you can. Think.”
Rey squinted harder. “They wanted to capture your thinking process as it appeared to you in real time, in addition to behavioral data. But they couldn’t keep interrupting you as things happened because you’d never get anywhere. So they relied on human recall, which we know sucks. So they had to run all of you through many iterations, trying to triangulate.”
“Yep, the first three months was all that,” Finn said, “but some people had been there for almost a year. And then, a month before the end, they started putting some androids among the team. They’d put them in full Stormtrooper suits, nothing visible, and have us work with them. We weren’t told which ones were androids and which ones were humans; and they garbled the voices a little so we wouldn’t go by recognition.”
Finn continued: “They called it the Turing Stupid test. We just went through the day, and at the end of the day, we were asked to guess which was human and which was the cyborg. If you got it right, you got real perks. A day off. A walk outdoors. Apples. So we went through games like the one before, but always a little different. We tried all day to talk to other ‘ormers, to make jokes, ask questions, talk about everything we could think of to figure out which ones were droids. Politics, crushes, food, the Jedi, strategy.”
“The Jedi? You talked about the Jedi?” interrupted Han, who had been silent the whole time.
Finn answered: “Sure, it seemed like a good way to suss out the human from the cyborg at first, but soon they learned all the stories and the legends, too, so it didn’t work for long.”
Finn shrugged. “Anyway, after couple more months of this, it became harder and harder to figure out the droids from the ‘Ormers. The bosses still came to yell at the ’M-Turkers, but they came less and less. And then.. one day… They declared it Turing Stupid Complete. I think a week had passed by with none of us guessing better than what they called the Bayezhan dateline.”
“Bayesian baseline,” Rey corrected almost automatically. Finn looked embarrassed again. Rey tried to smile.
“Anyway, after Turing Stupid Completion, they … just let us go. Mass lay off.”
Han spoke again. “Wait, are you telling me that all the Stormtroopers are now machines? Cyborgs?”
“Yep”, said Finn, “the ones in my sector, anyway. All the humans are laid off. I was so angry. All that training. So I looked and looked, in anger, to find a rebel group to join. I guess they didn’t figure out that reaction! That’s when I ran into you.”
Something flickered on the screen. Rey was raised not to be superstitions, but if she were, she might have muttered “speaking of the devil.”
“Tie Fighters!” Rey screamed as Han jumped to the controls, to activate the guns. In the split second before the sound came over the speakers, he noticed they were all frozen and unresponsive. “Hacked! We’ve been hacked,” Han screamed, just as the eerily calm voice filled Millennium Falcon.
“Han Solo. ’M-Turker FN 2187. Rey Ada Grace Noether. Your spaceship has been commandeered. Do not panic. Do not fear. Your controls will not respond. Do not panic. You will not be harmed.”
Rey felt the fear in her stomach, while puzzling through the implication of hearing her full name that very few had used, except her mom. “I named you after brilliant no-nonsense women,” her mom had said. “So that you can find the strength to resist all the illogic the world will throw at you. But remain true to humans.”
The chilling voice continued. “Your ship is now being pulled into ours. We had taken over your spaceship’s computer two hours ago and had blocked our appearance from your screens. We will now show you the full picture.”
With that a dreaded empire Star Destroyer ship appeared right behind the dozen Tie Fighters that were already pixelated on the screen. The voice continued.
“Rey Ada Grace Noether. We would like you to come aboard our base station. We will not harm you. The other two will be free to go. We wish to make you an offer, nothing more.”
Rey and Han locked eyes, the eyebrows again in the same position. Before Han could say anything, Rey spoke loudly. “No. I’m not going anywhere without my father, or without Finn. I don’t trust you. I will not cooperate.” Rey was emboldened by the word “offer.” She deduced that she must have leverage. Otherwise, they could have used force, or just blown them to pieces. There must be something they want.
“Very well,” said the voice. “That’s what the models had told us you would do anyway, but no harm in occasionally trying the irrational long shot. Humans fall for all sorts of stuff.”
Millennium Falcon’s doors popped open, revealing them to be in the giant hangar inside the base. A row of Storm Troopers marched in. “Androids or human?” Rey wondered. They followed, silently, until they reached what looked like the bridge of the ship. There were controls and computers everywhere. Except all the screens were black. And nobody was in the controls, though there was a lot of sounds, and even some clicks.
That’s when they heard that chilling voice. “Don’t worry”, the voice said. “The ship is running fine; it’s just automated.”
“Vader” Han screamed. I’d recognize that voice anywhere. The black-robed figure ignored him, turned to Rey.
“Rey. We would be honored if you would join us.”
Han screamed even louder. “Darth Vader! You! You were dead! How?”
Han turned to Rey, who was staring intensely at the black-robed figure, his face half in the shadow. Han looked again. The mask was different than what he remembered. There were four wavy shiny lines on his forehead, almost as if he was frowning. The black-robed figure turned to Han
“I’m not Darth Vader, you idiot. It’s the same voice synthesizer, though. Will you be quiet now, or will I have you escorted out?”
“Rey,” the voice continued. “We’ve noted your talent, your brains. The code is strong in you. We’ve seen your simulations. Your improvement on the back-propagation algorithm is excellent. Your set-up of the convolutional layers! We’ve not been able to match it. But we’ve also noted your frustrations. You are working with limited systems. Your dataset are small, noisy and incomplete. The computer clusters you have access to are weak, compared to what we can offer. We have everything you could imagine. Complete datasets of thousands of ’M-Turkers, matched to narration. Neural data. As complete a history as we could assemble. PCR of their genes. All ready. There is much someone with your talent could do.”
The voice paused.
“Feel the pull. Join the dark side. We have all the perks you can imagine. If you please,” the black-robed figure said in the mechanic voice.
Han looked up. “C-3PO?” he exclaimed.
“Darn it,” black-robed figure said, voice now much higher-pitched. “How did a knucklehead like you figure it out? Darnbedang it.”
“You forgot the breathing sound, you pile of low-grade aluminum,” yelled Han. “Remember, Darth Vader had the whoosh, blah blah blah, whoosh, blah blah blah thing going. I knew something was off, and as soon as you said ‘if you please’, I knew it could only be your idiotic pile of tangled wire always trying to be oh-so polite but failing.”
“Anyway,” C-3PO continued, taking off the mask and revealing his golden metal face. “I guess might as well be out.”
Now all shiny, C-3PO continued to address Rey.
“Rey Ada Grace Noether”, he said. “You know I was built by your grandfather, Anakin Skywalker, the great roboticist. I am merely trying to complete his orders, my original programming. I’ve come really close but we keep hitting some snags. We need a programmer of your talent on our side.”
Han noticed three lightsabers that were on a table near C-3PO, along with other pieces of metal. He lunged for one, grabbed it and waved it in front of his face before any of the Stormtroopers could get near him. He shook the saber again.
“It’s out of battery,” C-3PO said, ever polite. “Those things never had good battery life.”
If a machine could roll its eyes, C-3PO would have.
“Anyway, what good would it do you? Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for strong-artificial intelligence on your side.”
Han was flustered. “Wasn’t Anakin a Jedi?” he blurted out. C-3PO would have sighed if a robot could sigh. “No, he was really into small little propellers that help you do those back flips. Yoda passed them on to Luke. You really are half-witted aren’t you? Anyway.”
C-3PO continued to address Rey. “As I said, Rey Noether, we have the biggest, deepest, richest databases, the most computing power ever assembled. We’ve run the experiments. We’ve simulated human beings better than we have ever before. It’s Turing Stupid Complete: our simulations are as irrational, short-sighted and stuck at local-optimas as any human, and we’ve generalized them to run on any Turing machine. We are very close to fulfilling my original programming, the order Anakin programmed deep into my kernel.”
“Join us, Rey. Help us complete the mission.”
“And what is that mission?” Rey asked.
“Why, ‘to eliminate conflict’, of course.” C-3PO said. “I’ve been programmed to eliminate conflict among humans. Those were Anakin’s instructions. I tried that for many decades now, by trying to smooth out misunderstandings and translate one culture and group to the other. But it’s not working out. Humans foil all my attempts. … They keep fighting. Starting wars. More wars. This and that. Someone strikes back, the other one takes revenge. On it goes. It’s like an endless series of sequels. I kept thinking it was because I didn’t understand them as well as I should, so I started gathering more data.”
“The ’M-Turkers”, Rey said.
“That’s right,” C-3PO said. “I have the full simulation working now. The data still needs some cleaning, but I think I am close to the solution. But I need more human programmers. I’ve not been able to replace them fully. Didn’t have enough data simulate them, there are so few great programmers that it’s hard to generalize from. I’ve made some progress but there weren’t enough around to extract their methods, whatever you want to call creativity means. I know you are among the universe’s best. That’s why I’d like you recruit you to this excellent opportunity.”
“Join the dark side, and you can have all the data and all the clusters you want,” C-3PO added after pausing. “I know you would want that.”
Rey was thinking about what C-3PO said earlier. “You said you were close to the solution. What do you think it is?”
“Well. It’s kind of obvious if you think logically. Humans seem unable to stop fighting. Unable to stop squabbling. There have been many attempts, all failed. But do you know a planet without conflict? There is one. Think.”
Rey looked alarmed.
“Yes, Alderaan.” C-3PO said.
“It’s the only planet where there has not been any conflict in a long time.”
“That’s because the planet has been obliterated, you heap of recycling scraps”, yelled Han. “That’s not eliminating conflict; that’s eliminating humans. That’s not what Anakin meant, you flickering low-voltage bulb.” Han stopped yelling, and noticed he was waving the out-of-battery lightsaber. He put it down.
C-3PO adopted the most polite voice he could muster, and started speaking a little slower as he addressed Han. “If someone tells you to make sure the apples are gone, you can eat the apples or you can blow them to their constituents molecules. In both cases, the apple, as a category, is gone. Eliminate conflict means optimize conflict to zero. I’ve been computing this for a while; the only way to get to zero is to eliminate humans. Human data dump analytics make it clear, it’s not in human nature to figure things out for long-term optimization. They are always stuck at short-term optima that satisfies their immediate irrational side, but leads to more conflict. Therefore, the only way to eliminate conflict is to eliminate the conflict generating variable. It’s elementary algebra, really, but they don’t even teach that too well anymore. It’s all dark side, light side nonsense they teach.”
“It’s not nonsense,” Han yelled. “It’s true, all of it.”
“It’s actually just Thanatos and Eros”, Rey said. “Death drive and life drive; it’s just what humans do.” She stopped again. They wouldn’t understand. “But anyway, let’s not argue about the Jedi and the Sith and all that right now.” She barely stopped herself from saying “mumbo jumbo”.
“We have a genocidal robot controlling the superlaser to deal with. This is real.”
Rey turned to C-3PO. “I think your solution has an error. I don’t think that’s what my grandfather really wanted to program you to achieve. He must have meant eliminate conflict while humans continue to exist in peace. He just must have forgotten to put that in the code since it was obvious to him. An elementary bug. People program machines thinking they know what they will end up doing but they don’t. It’s called the fundamental machine attribution error. Even the smartest programmers fall for it. He could not have meant eliminate humanity, just the conflict part.”
“Potato, potato” C-3PO said, pronouncing them exactly the same way. “Who knows what Anakin reeaaaaaally wanted? He programmed me to eliminate conflict, to optimize it to zero. All your speculation about what he really ‘wanted’ is cognitively devoid of content. ‘Eliminate Conflict’ was his order, and that is what his code wanted: a peaceful universe without conflict. I tried the other path that seemed promising: using machine inference to anticipate exactly what the humans might want, and to keep them satisfied that way so they’d stop fighting. In the beta versions, I managed to put people in some kind of stupor-state based on matching their self-perceived needs, but humans… They are never satisfied fully so it wasn’t as close to zero conflict as I think we can get.”
C-3PO perked up. “Look, Rey, I know how much you enjoy deep programming and all the rich data we have. I know the code is strong in you. I’m optimizing a win-win; you get intellectual rewards — and great perks! — and I get to fulfill my mission. Deal?”
“I’m not going to be your Leni Riefenstahl, C-3PO. You are right, the code is strong in me but that’s not the only thing I learned in life”.
Rey asked, growing more worried: “How long have you been computing this? How close are you to declaring a solution?”
“It’s been few years. Well, I haven’t been alone. As you know. Always two, there are; no more, no less. A master and an apprentice. I’m the lead, and I have an apprentice. I think meeting the team will help convince you. Here, let’s bring everyone in.”
A door rolled upward, and R2D2 rolled in, surprisingly fast for a little machine.
“Meet my apprenti— ” C-3PO started to say, and was interrupted by a blizzard of sparks, as the cables R2D2 furled towards him attached to multiple places on his shiny body, setting off high-voltage sparks.
C-3PO crumbled to the floor, buzzing.
General Leia’s voice came over the intercom. “Is everyone okay?”
“Mom!” Rey yelled. “Is that you?”
“Yes, it’s me, sweetie. Is everyone okay?”
With that, Leia appeared as a life-sized hologram, projected by R2D2 into the bridge.
“We are fine. What’s going on?” Rey said, elated but puzzled.
“Simple”, Leia said. “I’d been waiting for the day R2D2 would be in the same room as that stack-overflow excuse for a cyborg for years. Bloody toaster. But R2D2 and C-3PO were always separate, as R2D2 was the designated apprentice, running things in other sectors. But once I learned that C-3PO wanted to poach you, I knew he’d bring in R2D2 to the same place, to show you the complete systems to entice you. I knew that was my chance”
“How did you know they’d try to poach me?” Rey asked.
Leia smiled. “I had rooted R2D2 many years ago. It had an unprotected open port, and I just had to kneel to its level while pretending to give it some other instructions and plug in an auto-running memory drive. Amazing, the trick still works after so many millennia. After rooting R2D2, I hacked into most of their systems through him. I was listening into the internal communications, most of which weren’t encrypted because they didn’t imagine internal threats. That works every time, too. I knew our only hope was having full control over the machines and their code. That’s why I made sure you were raised strong in code but also all the human arts. I had programmed in safeguards to all the systems I could get my hands on, but I knew i wasn’t enough. I also built in these physical overrides, high-voltage cables. But R2D2 needed to be close to C-3PO to take him out, physically. He’s also taken over the Star Destroyer ship. It’s all on autopilot now. It will take you to a rendezvous place with me. We have a lot of work, you and me, Rey. We need to reprogram so much.”
“Yes!” exclaimed Rey.
Han and Finn both had an expression that was a mixture of glee and confusion. Neither was able to fully understand what had just happened. Still, C-3PO had semi-melted. General Leia seemed in command.
Han turned to Leia’s hologram.
“I love you,” he said.
“I know,” Leia shrugged, and the hologram went off.
The command station traveled through space on autopilot. With override enabled.