I agree. Droids in Star Wars should have an element of life which isn’t clearly reducible to their mere components.
The prequel and sequel trilogies went too far in reducing droids (Threepio in particular) to mere machines, in my opinion. At the end of the PT, Threepio has his memories erased, presumably destroying the person he became over the course of the prequels. However, since we see his construction in TPM we know that his personality was present from the beginning, so erasing those memories means almost nothing in practice. Further, in the ST we see Threepio factory reset (again having no change on his personality) and then his memories are able to be restored anyway.
I always felt like the original Star Wars film portrayed 'droids as a persecuted underclass that was viewed by most people in the universe as simple machines prone to glitches and erratic behavior. A droid with personality was defective and these troublesome errors would be prevented by restraining bolts and fixed by routine memory wipes, much like you would wipe a used computer’s hard drive before using it yourself. Viewed in this way, a droid becomes more erratic, more of a person, over time, and a memory wipe destroys the personality and the person. Some people in the galaxy, such as some in the Rebel Alliance, seem to have a soft spot for droids as people, but for the rest of the galaxy they are nothing more than machines. This gives the original films a whole new dimension of thematic power, and is another reason that for me the PT and ST trilogies don’t exist in the same universe as the OT.