# Need some help with a fictional math equation

Okay so I recently found out that in official canon, the Galactic Republic of Star Wars was founded 25,000 years before the first original movie. Hyperdrives were presumably invented around 25,000 BBY. By the time of the Phantom Menace which is in the year 32 BBY, Technology has stayed basically the same- yet it does progress from 32 BBY to 35 ABY noticeably (The Skywalker Saga). This may be a big plot hole but perhaps not. My friend at Lucas said the High Republic books that are coming out in January are going to seem a little less advanced than 32 BBY but not by much because technology moves slowly.

I’m trying to come up with some math to track the rate of technological development in the Star Wars galaxy. Does anybody know how to make this equation?

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Staff Emeritus
2019 Award
An equation has two elements, one on each side of the equals sign. What do you think goes on each side?

hutchphd
An equation has two elements, one on each side of the equals sign. What do you think goes on each side?
I’m not looking for sarcasm. I know how an equation works. I just need one to figure out what the rate of development is. I’m looking for cycles based on numbers I gave but I don’t know how to formulate them.

Staff Emeritus
2019 Award
I’m not looking for sarcasm
And I'm not producing any. But I think you need to say what exactly you want to make an equation out of. "Something to do with technology" is not quantitative enough to make an equation out of.

I think that apparent technological growth rates will look very different than knowledge growth rates. A small bit of knowledge that puts you over the threshold can unlock a barrage of technologies.

I think an equation for the growth in knowledge might be workable. You might be able to use some measures from complexity theory as a basis. Ultimately, you could try to quantify the 'size' of the body knowledge, with all redundancies removed.

https://web.mit.edu/esd.83/www/notebook/Complexity.PDF

The concept of logical depth is interesting, because its units are time (sort of like the minimum amount of steps needed to derive the knowledge). Although it makes some assumptions, such as that the algorithm seeking it is of minimal complexity, and there are some other kind of problematic issues that make it not practical. Still it could be an inspiration if you want to go down the route of using complexity measures from algorithmic information theory. These kind of theoretically interesting, but unfeasible to compute measures could reasonably be thrown into practical use in sci fi.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_depth

There is also work on the Thermodynamic costs that govern information processing and storage.

https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms8669

So maybe you can incorporate thermodynamics.

Say you have an equation to predict the growth of knowledge, it will still be hard to map the knowledge directly to technological advancement. Some knowledge has little or no discernible use, while other in knowledge can be enormously useful.

Another thing is, should it be an analytical function, or a complex dynamical system?

I believe there has been a lot of work on speculating how advanced civilizations in other solar systems might be/get over time, and how to characterize and rank them.

I don't know about how this all works for Star Wars though.

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Staff Emeritus
2019 Award
I don't know about how this all works for Star Wars though.
Forget Star Wars for a moment. Calculate the difference in quantitative technological level (or knowledge level) of 15th century China with 14th Century Italy.

Did you get eleven, like I did?

256bits, Mondayman, Algr and 1 other person
I’m trying to come up with some math to track the rate of technological development in the Star Wars galaxy. Does anybody know how to make this equation?
Is it intended to be some kind of crossover between Star Wars and Asimov's Psychohistory?

This may be a big plot hole but perhaps not.
This is more or less what's called 'nerfing'. Just throw in the bone of rapid development, then get it back by claiming stuff becoming ineffective and obsolete: so you can start with the pew-pew guns and can still finish with pew-pew guns without worrying about accidentally blowing up the planet below your feet.

It's just as a great tool as technobabble, but a real pin in the *ss when it's about compiling timelines.

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Klystron
Gold Member
Though not Star Wars or Lucas specific, consider Robert Heinlein's "Future History" anthologies of short stories and novels. Heinlein and other SF authors developed charts of fictional technological milestones collated with important historical milestones.

Heinlein and friend Isaac Asimov made several accurate tech predictions. Heinlein wrote about problems generating electricity using nuclear, later mitigated by utilizing 'sun screens'; i.e. solar panels. Asimov has a character casually use a cell phone equivalent similar to an Apple watch if memory serves.

Charting the Star Wars tech and knowledge developments with story milestones might help develop your equations.

I could see another factor in the "equation" being the rate of development being hindered by forces opposed to such developments. For example, those in power (the Emperor, Vader, etc.) would not want any forces developed that could ultimately lead to their demise and the downfall of their power. That being said the "Human Factor" is more ambiguous and ultimately a variable that will never be truly solved, more sort of a 'quantum probability' than anything else, because in human nature you can't truly hypothesize every action. It's an interesting thought experiment, though. I think that Asimov treated it more succinctly with psychohistory and the formation of the Foundation. His works might be a good basis for starting a 'research project' into the rise and fall of technological development. As Vader said, "don't be too proud of this technological marvel you've created..."

Klystron
Technology has stayed basically the same- yet it does progress from 32 BBY to 35 ABY noticeably (The Skywalker Saga).
I don't really recall this. What progressed? I know there is an even bigger Death Star, but that is economic gigantism, not progress. When you have a dictator terrorizing a society, it actually makes sense that technology might degrade, rather then progress. Nobody is going to invest in new factories or R&D when Vader might blow up your planet! The Skywalker Era parallels the late Roman empire in that regard. (Disregarding the IMHO nonsensical sequel trilogy. )

Another example of degradation: The clone troopers. By the Skywalker saga, you have regular people as stormtroopers, not clones. This is because a) they may have lost the resources to do this sort of thing. and b) there is less economic opportunity for regular people, so becoming a stormtrooper becomes more attractive.

DaveC426913
Gold Member
I’m trying to come up with some math to track the rate of technological development in the Star Wars galaxy. Does anybody know how to make this equation?
Is it math you want or is it just a plausible timeline of tech?

Have a look at the RPG Traveller and their Tech Level charts.
https://wiki.travellerrpg.com/Technology_Level
Earth is Tech Level 8.
Star Wars is somewhere in the teens.

Traveller has charts for other major industries as well, such as
Medicine (Level 20: "Poof, you're healed"),
Transport (Level 20: "Poof, they're there"),
Weapons (Level 20: "Poof you're dead").

DaveC426913
Gold Member
Another example of degradation: The clone troopers. By the Skywalker saga, you have regular people as stormtroopers, not clones. This is because a) they may have lost the resources to do this sort of thing. and b) there is less economic opportunity for regular people, so becoming a stormtrooper becomes more attractive.
Always wondered how Finn managed to fill the suit of a Fett clone.

Algr
Star Wars is somewhere in the teens.
Ranking the technology of sci-fi or fantasy universes is impossible. People say that Star Wars is more advanced than Star Trek because their ships can travel faster (Across the galaxy). But the Empire can't make a decent TV set, while the Enterprise has holodecks. In the end it is all fantasy really.

DaveC426913
Gold Member
Ranking the technology of sci-fi or fantasy universes is impossible.
Not impossible, just a matter of what level of arbitrariness you're willing to tolerate.

People say that Star Wars is more advanced than Star Trek because their ships can travel faster (Across the galaxy). But the Empire can't make a decent TV set, while the Enterprise has holodecks
Two things:
1. It's not a monolithic single number. For example, Traveller breaks down tech into sub industries. So Star Wars has TL 16 Warp Drive, but TL 7 Communications.

2. As Neil Gaiman said: "The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed." One planet is a planetary city, while the next has to farm water to just to survive (yet it still has a hyperdrive-friendly spaceport).

Staff Emeritus
2019 Award
Star Trek vs. Star Wars
Stormtroopers can't even hit a redshirt.

Rive, Quarkman1 and Motore
In the Madilorian they even explain that. Stormtroopers are well trained, but the force protects users and also people they care about. So they have a technobabble explanation for plot armor.

DavidSnider
Gold Member
2. As Neil Gaiman said: "The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed." One planet is a planetary city, while the next has to farm water to just to survive (yet it still has a hyperdrive-friendly spaceport).
That was William Gibson.

DaveC426913
Gold Member
That was William Gibson.
Well derp.