Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century
Date: October 2010
Duration: 20 hours 29 minutes
A military expert reveals how science fiction is fast becoming reality on the battlefield, changing not just how wars are fought, but also the politics, economics, laws, and ethics that surround war itself.Singer’s previous books foretold the rise of private military contractors and the advent of child soldiers—predictions that have proved all too accurate. Now he explores the greatest revolution in military affairs since the atom bomb: robotic warfare.We are now seeing a massive shift in military technology that threatens to make the stuff of I, Robot and The Terminator a reality. Over seven thousand robotic systems are now in Iraq; pilots in Nevada are remotely killing terrorists in Afghanistan; scientists are debating just how smart—and lethal—to make their current prototypes; and many renowned science fiction authors are secretly consulting for the Pentagon.Blending historic evidence with interviews from the field, Singer vividly shows that as these technologies multiply, they will have profound effects on both the front lines and the politics back home. Replacing men with machines may save some lives but will lower morale and psychological barriers to killing. The “warrior ethos,” which has long defined soldiers’ identity, will erode, as will the laws of war that have governed military conflict for generations.Paradoxically, the new technology will also bring war to our doorstep. As other nations and terrorist organizations obtain their own robotic weapons, the robot revolution could undermine America’s military preeminence. While his analysis is unnerving, there’s an irresistible gee-whiz quality to the innovations Singer uncovers. Wired for War travels from Iraq and Afghanistan, where these machines are now fighting, to modern-day “skunk works” in the midst of suburbia, where tomorrow’s technologies of war are quietly being designed. In Singer’s hands, the future of war is as fascinating as it is frightening.