It might be a
piece of metal and electronics, but it is equipped with exceptional skills. Why? Similar to
human beings, or other sentient beings - who knows? -, Artoo lives by and compares to
its memory, thus reflecting about the future, or in other words, comparing data. As Artoo's
memory hasn't been swiped since the first film/ book (now Episode 4), I consider him a
"he", not an "it" - that's probably because
Movies and Books
The first three films are a set of entertaining stories, with actors who convince the viewer that living on some planet in deep space is as normal as your own home - except all the action, of course. I mean, who would want crazy Hutts invading your house. It didn't take me very long to adjust to thinking in terms of hyperspace, known sectors of space and the Outer Rim.
In the early 1990s Lucasfilm allowed authors to further develop the story by writing books. The content of each book can/ must interact with any other book written about the Starwars Universe. So, in order to write a Starwars book, you have to know about all the other books. I guess that's a difficult task, but it makes reading fun as you always meet characters/ planets again that you might already know about. It's this "ha, I've been here before" effect.
Episode I is an entertaining film, and the acting improves, as during the first 30 minutes I wasn't too impressed by the characters. They somehow didn't convince me. Meanwhile I'm sure [what's his name?] will make a really good Obi Wan in the next film. I'm looking forward to the next movie, but I'm more of a book reader by now. The books have grown to create a imaginative Universe far beyond the movies.