Instigator / Pro
7
1731
rating
167
debates
73.05%
won
Topic
#3915

On Balance, A 3PO-series Protocol Droid is more useful than an R2-series Astromech droid

Status
Finished

The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

Winner & statistics
Better arguments
0
9
Better sources
2
6
Better legibility
2
3
Better conduct
3
1

After 3 votes and with 12 points ahead, the winner is...

RationalMadman
Parameters
Publication date
Last updated date
Type
Standard
Number of rounds
3
Time for argument
One week
Max argument characters
10,000
Voting period
One month
Point system
Multiple criterions
Voting system
Open
Contender / Con
19
1700
rating
544
debates
68.01%
won
Description

R2-series droids are produced by Industrial Automaton. They are astromech droids aimed to fulfill mechanical work around the garage, hangar, and on a spacecraft. Notable R2-series droids include R2-D2.
https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/R2-series_astromech_droid

3PO-series droids are produced by Cybot Galactica. The utility for the 3PO-series protocol droids include but are not limited to translation, discussion, and simple handling works possible for a human being. Notable 3PO-series droids include C-3PO.
https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/3PO-series_protocol_droid

Canon and Legends from the beginning of time to the end of Ep VI are counted. Everything else is disregarded for this debate as the story branches on.

We assume that both droids cost the same price and inflation is negligible, and that both lines will be produced for an indefinitely long period of time.

Round 1
Pro
#1
Sorry for such a late response. My computer faced multiple problems throughout the weekend resulting in me not even able to connect to the internet. If you see this, it means it is resolved.

Interpretation
Keep in mind, the 3PO line does not refer to the C line of Cybot, and the R2 line does not refer to the entire R-series including R1 through R9. Also, we are comparing the average R2 droid with the average 3PO droid as phrased in the title. R2-D2 and C-3PO are two war heroes that simply exceed the expectation of the work done by the average droid of either type, therefore they are outliers and are not specifically being discussed here unless to showcase mechanisms and possible functions that are documented with the most clarity in films.

Arg1: The 3PO line had LESS substitutes

The 3PO line, produced by Cybot, began its production in the old republic era, at 112BBY. Its production didn't end until the New Republic era, AFTER EP6, being replaced by an enhanced C-series. Therefore, in this span over 100 years, effectively all work that is exclusive to the 3PO line are fulfilled by the 3PO line.
The 3PO-series protocol units were considered the most advanced Human-cyborg relations droids in the market for over a hundred years.[1]
In other words, the 3PO series effectively monopolized(or at least holds a large share in an oligopoly) in the communications industry for more than a century. It is almost NOT competing with droids Cybot itself produced that is a different line, except for maybe the TC-line, which doesn't really have anything crucially "better" than the 3PO line and is overall not as popular.

This is different for the R2 line, which had numerous replacements before the end of Endor. Namely, the R3, R4 and R5 units. Each of these three does something better than R2, rendering not only R2 good at many things but not the best at everything, but the R-series essentially competing with itself, possibly more than the 3PO competes with the TC of Cybot. Of course, this does no dent to the profits of IA who produced the R-series, however, this would render:
  • R2 less desirable in conditions with antigravity, such as in many advanced spaceships, than R4 units.[2]
    • R4-units are employed before 22BBY and has been already used by the Jedi Temple, as shown in Ep2, Obi-Wan and his starfighter. R2-units has probably already lost its monopoly on astromechanical functions.
  • R3 more desirable in conditions where large memory storage is needed than R2[2]
  • Among less wealthy customers, R5-units are more desirable as they are cheaper.[2]
    • We can get a live example of this: Uncle Owen at the start of Ep4 initially chose the R5 unit and C-3PO to work at his moisture farm. Until the R5 unit broke down to help a brother out(R2-D2), Uncle Owen would have not even wanted the R2-unit.
    • In the same example, C-3PO was seen speaking about his ability to understand and speak Bocce(a language on Tatooine, despite that he never intended to land on Tatooine in the first place if not for evading Darth Vader's inspections) as well as being able to operate binary load lifters, something that is expected for a skilled human to do. Essentially, C-3PO doubles as a big-brained human.
Arg2: Communications vs Astromechanics

In Ep4, Obi-Wan has commented on the nature of R2-units: They are dime a dozen. This line was written before the prequels were fleshed out, so this line can be implied to refer to the condition on Tatooine. The problem of this is:
  • Most people on Tatooine have no need to fly to other planets, at least not with an aircraft that requires R2-units.
In what aircrafts can an R2-unit be inserted into? You guessed it, personal starcrafts such as X-wings, which definitely are in the posessions of armed groups(such as the Empire and the Rebel Alliance). Not even the fastest YT-1300 freighter in the galaxy(owned by Han Solo) requires an R2-unit to fly. Therefore, the R2-unit is dead to Tatooine: Well not exactly, they are basically mechanics, normal mechanics fixing normal stuff. The average R2 unit is definitely not used to the full potential.

Even on Tatooine, a remote desert planet with maybe 2 or 3 heroes, R2-droids are commonly seen. Such can be assumed to be the state for many other remote planets as well. A large demand of R-series droids(which mind you, the R2-droids only take up a portion, the rest is filled by such as R3, R4 and R5) possibly comes from the numerous "poor planets", so does possibly 3PO droids.

However, since 3PO droids can translate between millions of languages, given the amount of different species and cultures existent in the galaxy, They are indeed useful. 3PO droids are also capable of operating machinery such as Moisture Vaporators, effectively reducing R2's exclusivity to even less, as 3PO units are indeed capable of operating many machines that humans can operate.

In the end, the 3PO droid exclusively fulfills all translation and communication works(while R2 speaks in a tongue that in itself is hard to understand initially) compared to R2, while R2 exclusively only fills a small amount of mechanical works which are just utilizing the toolkit it came from(and they might as well be substituted for a 3PO droid with tools, as 3PO droids can operate even starships as seen in episodes 3 and 5)

Conclusions
  • The R series competes with itself more than the 3PO series competes with other Cybot lines.
    • The R2 is the least exclusive droid out of the R2 through R5 lines. Therefore, it is effectively reduced to being a normal space mechanic for any entity that can afford R3, R4 or R5.
    • The 3PO has no such weaknesses for decades and are considered to be the most exclusive and the most able droid of the field.
  • A large portion of the R-series' market does not effectively use its full potential, rendering it just a moving tool kit for people that has no demand of moving outside the home planet.
    • 3PO droids can operate starships, operate moisture vaporators, and can use tools. This leaves a very small set of things, for the average droid, that the R2 can do while the 3PO cannot.
    • 3PO droids can translate between millions of languages, which is almost always useful.
Sources
Unfortunately, the computer issue means that pages like Wookieepedia cannot correctly open, therefore the citations here is suboptimal.
  • Star Wars Episodes 2, 3, 4, 5

Con
#2
I am not sure what my opponents' first argument is meant to prove since the entire reason the R2 models had more iterations later is that the 3PO models were relatively useless and as good as they were going to get for their barely evolving purpose.

The only time the 3PO model was remotely useful was when you needed an interpreter between 2 beings in Star Wars that spoke 2 differnet languages without an interpreter nearby. My opponents makes it seem like the 3PO model was ever needed for anything else and it wasn't, in fact because they walk so slow and useless, they don't even make good messengers (as in sending a droid to deliver a message instead of a human) instead, the R2 models if they carried a message or a recorded hologram could theoretically even be better at that but the R2 astromech wasn't really used that way.

Astromechs even used the 3PO droids as their sub-droids to talk to humans for them if they had issues, meaning the 3PO droids were inherently the support droid to the R2 droids, even as far evolved as R2-D2 and C-3PO ended up being.

Let's first understand what Astromechs are before specifically discussing R2-series droids.

Astromech droids, also referred to as astro droids or mechs, were a type of repair droid that served as an automated mechanic on starships. These compact droids used tool-tipped appendages stored in recessed compartments. Many starfighters relied on astromech copilots to control flight and power distribution systems.[2] Sitting in an astromech socket exposed to space, the droid, in addition to its piloting duties, could calculate hyperspace jumps and perform simple repairs.

What is extremely important here is to understand my own first contention (which is a counter-contention to Pro's first):

The Astromech role was inherently more useful than the interpreting and communicating role of the 3POs, since the former required droids at its apex, 3POs were fill-ins when living beings were too lazy or unavailable to interpret or translate.

The whole reason that the R2-series got pushed past, tweaked and improved up both down its line of R-series and into P-series etc is that the astromech role was severely useful and in high-demand.

The whole reason that the 3PO-series was barely improved upon was that the only purpose of the droids was to translate and that design was done well very fast. I could actually think of a few design improvements especially to make them effective messengers as well as hybrid interpreters and bodyguard for important officials but this never was nor needed to be done because their role was just slow-moving flimsy interpreter. That is the problem with Pro's first contention, it doesn't realise that R-series and forwards were continually improved due to a high demand to adapt to evolving spacecraft models in one of the most highly-needed droid jobs.

The reason droids were great at it wasn't just their skill level vs humans which can be clumsy, it's also the sheer fact that humans or other living beings within Star Wars wouldn't just die of oxygen deprivation since they could be inside the craft, calm, while the droids did the risky jobs outside. This also would mean in the middle of an intense war/battle, when stakes are highest, the astromech droids are in the firing-line while simultaneously stopping a spacecraft's damage escalating, instead of the team of living beings inside both being less useful within the spacecraft and risking their life even worse on top of it.

In short, astromech's were invariably needed because at war time they are indispensible and at peace-time they're still useful because both people are improving spacecraft and the droids caring for it, for future wars and also ofc brilliant in the wars.

==

Pro makes Tatooine 'everything'.

Pro went out of his way to pick a desert region/planet in Star Wars that didn't heavily engage in much spacecraft activity and warfare. Tatooine is one region of star wars. In Tatooine, there were often international tourists that engaged in gambling and all kinds of trade so yes, on that one planet 3POs were particularly useful for interpreation (translation). 

Even on Tatooine and certainly throughout the entire rest of the Star Wars universe (and at least that galaxy), R-series (which includes R2s) astromechs were particularly useful.

The R2-series astromech droid was a model of astromech droid produced by Industrial Automaton, boasting a level of success that was never equaled in Industrial Automaton's long history. A combination of excellent design, high-quality marketing, and good timing made this astromech droid one of the most sought after droids in history, and one of the few vintage astromech series still in active production decades after it was first designed, including the prototype R2-0. The line was so successful, even being given a positive review by Mechtech Illustrated for its versatility,[3] that the Galactic Empire would later take credit for the design. The average cost for an R2 unit was about 4245 Republic Credits.

Functions
Technical schematics of an R2 unit from one of IA's HoloNet advertisements.
When not compared to each other, the R2-series shell was near-indistinguishable from that of the P2-series astromech droid, prototype of the entire R-series. The main difference was in their height - at 0.96 meters, the R2-series was less than half as high than the hulking P2. Like its forerunners, the R2 astromech was designed to work in and around space vessels as a diagnostic and repair unit. But unlike the clunky R1-series or the overly large P2-series, this rounded, waist-high droid was made specifically to fit in military starfighter astromech slots. This was a radical departure, as previously all such droids had been dedicated government models. The droid was equally popular with Galactic Republic fighter jocks as it was with the general public.

When plugged into a T-65 X-wing starfighterEta-2 Actis-class interceptor, or similar starfighter, the R2 monitored flight performance, pinpointed and corrected technical problems, and performed power management, optimizing shipboard systems. Its ROM library had reference and repair designs for well over seven hundred starship models to ensure it was able to do its functions in repairwork, with its Intellex IV internal computer scans technical files also co pinpointing potential problems as well as finding data patterns or debug computer codes, allowing it to conduct over 10,000 MPF operations a second.[3] The unit could store up to ten sets of hyperspace vector coordinates in the RAM of its astrogation buffer (thus allowing for even ships with limited navicomputers to make hyperspace jumps and also acting as a backup in the event of navicomputer malfunctions),[3] and many had the intelligence and experience to perform engine startup and pre-flight taxiing. The R2 operated flawlessly in the vacuum of interstellar space. R2 units were equipped with a holographic recording mode.[4]

THE SITH EMPIRE REWROTE HISTORY TO TAKE CREDIT FOR THE R2 LINE... That is how useful they were.

Let's reiterate how useful they were in functionality:
  • monitored flight performance
  • pinpointed and corrected technical problems
  • performed power management, optimizing shipboard systems.
  • Its ROM library had reference and repair designs for well over seven hundred starship models to ensure it was able to do its functions in repairwork
  • Intellex IV internal computer scans technical files also co pinpointing potential problems as well as finding data patterns or debug computer codes, allowing it to conduct over 10,000 MPF operations a second.[3] 
  • could store up to ten sets of hyperspace vector coordinates in the RAM of its astrogation buffer (thus allowing for even ships with limited navicomputers to make hyperspace jumps and also acting as a backup in the event of navicomputer malfunctions),[3]
  • many had the intelligence and experience to perform engine startup and pre-flight taxiing. The R2 operated flawlessly in the vacuum of interstellar space. R2 units were equipped with a holographic recording mode.[4]
(same link as before)

Now, let's remind ourselves that Tatooine is only one place in the Star Wars main galaxy and overall universe. Star Wars even had inhabited moons!


^ there were 344 planets (but I think that includes some moons) and Tatooine was only 1.


Round 2
Pro
#3
I concede after realizing my incompleteness in Star Wars knowledge.
Con
#4
next round
Round 3
Pro
#5
Proceed
Con
#6
That's what she said, many times.