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Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Centuryby P W Singer
Synopses & Reviews
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
P. W. Singeras previous two books foretold the rise of private military contractors and the advent of child soldiersa predictions that proved all too accurate. Now, he explores the greatest revolution in military affairs since the atom bombathe advent of robotic warfare.
We are just beginning to see a massive shift in military technology that threatens to make the stuff of I, Robot and the Terminator all too real. More than seven- thousand robotic systems are now in Iraq. Pilots in Nevada are remotely killing terrorists in Afghanistan. Scientists are debating just how smartaand how lethalato make their current robotic prototypes. And many of the most renowned science fiction authors are secretly consulting for the Pentagon on the next generation.
Blending historic evidence with interviews from the field, Singer vividly shows that as these technologies multiply, they will have profound effects on the front lines as well as on the politics back home. Moving humans off the battlefield makes wars easier to start, but more complex to fight. Replacing men with machines may save some lives, but will lower the morale and psychological barriers to killing. The awarrior ethos, a which has long defined soldiersa identity, will erode, as will the laws of war that have governed military conflict for generations.
Paradoxically, these new technologies will also bring war to our doorstep. As other nations and even terrorist organizations start to build or buy their own robotic weapons, the robot revolution could undermine Americaas military preeminence. While his analysis is unnerving, thereas an irresistible gee-whiz quality to the innovations Singer uncovers. Wired for War travels from Iraq to see these robots in combat to the latter-day askunk worksa in Americaas suburbia, where tomorrowas technologies of war are quietly being designed. In Singeras hands, the future of war is as fascinating as it is frightening.
During the past decade, drones have become central to American military strategy. When coupled with access to accurate information, drones make it possible to deploy lethal force across borders while keeping oneand#8217;s own soldiers out of harmand#8217;s way. The potential to direct force with great precision also offers the possibility of reducing harm to civilians. At the same time, because drones eliminate some of the traditional constraints on the use of forceand#151;like the need to gain political support for full mobilizationand#151;they lower the threshold for launching military strikes. The development of drone use capacity across dozens of countries increases the need for global standards on the use of these weapons to assure their deployment is strategically wise and ethically and legally sound.
Presenting a robust conversation among leading scholars in the areas of international legal standards, counterterrorism strategy, humanitarian law, and the ethics of force, Drones and the Future of Armed Conflict takes account of current American drone campaigns and the developing legal, ethical, and strategic implications of this new way of warfare. Among the contributions to this volume are a thorough examination of the American governmentand#8217;s legal justifications for the targeting of enemies using drones, an analysis of American drone campaignsand#8217; notable successes and failures, and a discussion of the linked issues of human rights, freedom of information, and government accountability.
"riveting and comprehensive, encompassing every aspect of the rise of military robotics." --Financial Times
In Wired for War, P. W. Singer explores the great­est revolution in military affairs since the atom bomb: the dawn of robotic warfare. We are on the cusp of a massive shift in military technology that threatens to make real the stuff of I, Robot and The Terminator. Blending historical evidence with interviews of an amaz­ing cast of characters, Singer shows how technology is changing not just how wars are fought, but also the politics, economics, laws, and the ethics that surround war itself. Traveling from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan to modern-day "skunk works" in the midst of suburbia, Wired for War will tantalize a wide readership, from military buffs to policy wonks to gearheads.
About the Author
P.W. Singer, director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution, has worked in the Pentagon and consulted for the departments of Defense and State, the CIA, and Congress. He is the author of two previous books, Corporate Warriors and Children at War.
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