For me, I’ve found myself in love with the prospect of highly automated vessels - due to the fact that it can justify for a significantly reduced crew count and allow for warships to swap out habitation blocks for something else - like additional hangar bays or weapon’s batteries, etc. After watching Eckhart’s video - I’ve found myself agreeing with several of his points, but shaking my head and disagreeing with others.
His research and information seem to be solely based around the Clone Wars/ Galactic Civil War Era - when there was only a handful of truly automated warships (aside from the vast swarms of droid starfighters.) For example; I give to you the Recusant - which was a highly automated CIS warship that saw service in the Clone Wars and the Civil War thereafter, but ran into several of the issues that Eckhart mentioned; like the lowered reaction time and apparently the inability to keep themselves from colliding into other ships. While utterly comical, I don’t believe it should hold any weight when compared to “modern” designs that have been translated to Chaos’ Factory. We’re talking almost eight hundred years of possible technological advancement here, despite the large-scale stagnation that’s prevalent during the lengthy ‘Legends’ canon history, and the massive technological regression that’s happened during the Gulag plague.
I’ll touch on those points later, but I’m going to hit up the seemingly consistent concept that’s been generally utilized by some authors - that is that droids are unable to react faster than an organic being - therefore are a bunch of bumbling buffoons like the B1 battle droids. I don’t agree with that. They were originally designed to be remotely operated, and were given a retrofitted module that allowed them some more independence - but were still constrained by the original designs. Thus, making the B2 a superior model as they were designed to specifically counter the flaws of their predecessor (but still suffering from drawbacks of their own.) While not listed, I believe these droids had the foundations of what would later become the Heuristic processor - something that was considered as advanced during that Era. These processors allowed for a Droid to learn by doing - much in the way that organic beings do - without having been previously instructed.
However, you could argue that these processors weren’t that advanced since it’s been proven throughout SW history that Droids develop a personality over time - something that occurs naturally during operation without a memory-wipe.
So, with those processors, a starship’s automated systems - especially weapons - would eventually become more and more dangerous over time, as they absorbed a wealth of information (should they survive one battle, before moving onto the next.) I’d see them of being able to counteract that weakness of being slow to react easily, and adapting to an organic’s innate ability to be creative; as they’ve seen it happen before and were able to develop an effective counterattack. The same could be said of the more mundane systems, as they’d be able to learn from any errors and strive to make themselves more efficient the next time something similar happens. Therefore, that leads me to believe that a Droid would be a more competent and effective replacement to the Organic alternative, and would be capable of following through with his duties far faster than a nimble-fingered sentient. Especially if the droid brain was programmed, and equipped with the appropriate cognitive modules like a heuristic processor. At least, that’s how I see it in my eyes - you may see it differently. Lol
Now, this leads me towards (admittedly unlisted) evidence of automation in the years after the Clone Wars and the Civil War. As the basis for my argument, I’m using the Imperial II-Class SD as the foundation - since it’s the most prominent fixture of the Civil War era and a deadly vessel in its own right. This warship has a crew complement of roughly 37,000 people - which is an insane number when fully staffed, and compared to the warship I’ll be listing afterwards. Yes, I could list any number of Mon Cala vessels, as they roughly measured up to their Imperial counterparts and were capable of operating with a significantly reduced crew count. As the reason why was never listed, or brushed off as the superiority of Dac’s Engineering, I figure that there was a degree of automation brought into play. Something that wasn’t really considered of during the timeframe all this information was generated - as it was basically WWII naval fights in space.
If you skip ahead one hundred years in the ‘legends,’ you’ll find that the ImpStar II was replaced by the Pellaeon-Class SD which was reportedly larger than the standard ISD-II; that had a significantly reduced crew complement. Like, we’re talking of a difference of nearly 28,000 people. Sadly, there’s nothing in the article that states the vessel is automated, but that’s the way I’m interpreting it - especially to justify the massively reduced numbers on an allegedly larger warship.
However, with the advantages that come from automating your warship - there comes with it a whole host of drawbacks, which can drastically hamper your starship’s capabilities. The first, and foremost issue is counteracting the deadly effects of an electromagnetic pulse - which can effectively cripple the vessel if not shielded properly. Even then, it’s something you’d ideally still have to be cognizant of as that integrated shielding can only resist so much before it fails, and forces the Starship to submit to the effects of the EMP. Something similar could be said of the various intricacies of Electronic Warfare; which any warship worth its weight in salt would have effective countermeasure(s) for, but can only do so much in the long-run as there have been some fanon submissions made to counteract these systems.
In conclusion, and honestly surmising my giant rant, I see automation becoming more commonplace as we drive technology forward ICly, and effectively replacing an organic crewmember with an artificial one; that’s not hindered by the “human error” factor. This could be further enhanced by having a connected transceiver built into the droid brains that remotely connect them to a central computer core - from which they could be commanded by a significantly smaller organic complement or even an Artificial Intelligence; something already found in almost every droid in Star Wars canon.