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Wired for War

The Robotics Revolution
and 21st Century Conflict

Peter W. Singer
(Penguin, 2009)

"What happens when science fiction starts to become reality on the battlefield?" a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, has worked in the Pentagon, as well as consulted for the departments of Defense and State, the CIA, and Congress is both excited and concerned about the transformation the military is going through, with the introduction of new, and ever more capable unmanned war machines.

Singer's study covers different types of unmanned systems, from the guided 'smart bombs' to the next wave of Warbots. Beyond the technological discussion, Singer also highlights many other aspects - politics, economics, laws and ethics that are being affected by the unmanned warfighters. The author's previous two books Children at War(2006) and Corporate Warriors (2007) foretold the rise of private military firms and the advent of child soldiers – predictions that proved all too accurate. The third book predicts the next shift in military technology that threatens to make real the stuff of I, Robot and the terminator. Thousands of robotic systems are now supporting troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While some are saving lives, hunting IEDs and insurgents, others, flown by pilots are sitting thousands of kilometers away, in Nevada are remotely killing terrorists in Afghanistan. Scientists are debating just how smart – and how lethal – to make their robotic creations. And many of the most renowned science fiction authors are quietly consulting for the Pentagon on the next generation.

"Replacing men with machines may save some lives, but will lower the moral and psychological barriers to killing." Warns Singer. "The "Warrior ethos," which so long defined soldier's identity, will erode, as will the laws of war that have governed military conflict for generations." He added, warning that the availability of these new technologies could also bring new threats to America's doorsteps.

P.W. Singer, a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, has worked in the Pentagon, as well as consulted for the departments of Defense and State, the CIA, and Congress. The author of two previous books, Corporate Warriors and Children at War, he has also written for publications such as the New York Times and Foreign Affairs.

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