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. Singer?s previous two books foretold the rise of private military contractors and the advent of child soldiers? predictions that proved all too accurate. Now, he explores the greatest revolution in military affairs since the atom bomb?the 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 smart?and how lethal?to 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 ?warrior ethos,? which has long defined soldiers? 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 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 to see these robots in combat to the latter-day ?skunk works? in America?s 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.
PW Singer. . .has written what is likely to be the definitive work on this subject for some time to come. He has a record of drawing out the underlying trends in modern warfare, with previous books on child soldiers and the increasing use of mercenaries. Wired for War
will confirm his reputation: it is riveting and comprehensive, encompassing every aspect of the rise of military robotics, from the historical to the ethical.
[A] riveting, important book . . . Singer, at age 29 the youngest scholar named a senior fellow to the Brookings Institute, put four years into writing Wired for War. It is the only book in my reading experience that quotes Immanuel Kant and Biggie Smalls with equal enthusiasm. The resulting book is an intoxicating, encyclopedic trip - made intensely readable by all the colorful characters Singer salts along this story. . . . I will be shelving my copy next to two other books that remade my world view: Tracy Kidder's The Soul of the New Machine and Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel.
Karen Long, book editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer
P. W. Singer has fashioned a definitive text on the future of war around the subject of robots. In no previous book have I gotten such an intrinsic sense of what the military future will be like.
Robert D. Kaplan, author of Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground
Singer's book is as important (very) as it is readable (highly), as much a fascinating account of new technology as it is a challenging appraisal of the strategic, political and ethical questions that we must now face. This book needs to be widely read -- not just within the defense community but by anyone interested in the most fundamental questions of how our society and others will look at war itself.
Anthony Lake, former U.S. National Security Advisor and Professor of Diplomacy , School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
Drawing from sources spanning popular culture and hard science, Singer reveals how the relationship between man and robot is changing the very nature of war. He details technology that has, until now, been the stuff of science fiction: lethal machines that can walk on water or hover outside windows, machines joined in networks or thinking for themselves. I found this book fascinating, deep, entertaining, and frightening.
Howard Gordon, writer and executive producer of 24, The X-Files, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer
"Lively, penetrating, and wise ... A warmly human (even humorous) account of robotics and other military technologies that focuses where it should: on us."
Richard Danzig, former Secretary of the Navy and Director, National Semiconductor Corporation
Will wars someday be fought by Terminator-like machines? In this provocative and entertaining new book, one of our brightest young strategic thinkers suggests the answer may well be yes. Singers sprightly survey of robotics technology takes the reader from battlefields and cutting-edge research labs to the dreams of science fiction writers. In the process, he forces us to grapple with the strategic and ethical implications of the new new thing in war.
Max Boot, Senior Fellow for National Security Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations; author of The Savage Wars of Peace and War Made New
Weaving together immaculate academic research with a fan boys lexicon of popular culture, Singer looks at the people and technologies beta-testing tomorrow's wars today. The result is a book both hilarious and hair-raising that poses profound ethical questions about the creation and use of ever more powerful killing machines.
Gideon Yago, writer, MTV News
Blew my f***ing mind
This book is awesome.
John Stewart, The Daily Show<>
"A superb book
If you read Wired for War you'll actually get a sense for the complexities that we are creating. We're not making a simpler world with these robots I don't think at all, I think we're making a more complex world, and that is something I got from this great book.
General James Mattis, USMC, NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation and the Commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command
"In his latest work, Wired for War, Singer confesses his passion for science fiction as he introduces us to a glimpse of things to comethe new technologies that will shape wars of the future. His new book addresses some ominous and little-discussed questions about the military, technology, and machinery."
"...A vivid picture of the current controversies and dazzling possibilities of war in the digital age."
Full of vignettes on the use of robotics, first-person interviews with end- users, what has occurred in the robotics industry in its support of the nation, and what is "coming soon." Some of the new ideas are just downright mind-blowing..."
The Armchair General
"An admitted war geek, P.W. Singer obsessesover the course of 400-plus pages about the growing role of robots in combat. His tone is oddly jovial considering the unsettling subject matter, but you won't find a more comprehensive look at mechanized death outside science fiction."
"If you want the whole story of remote warfare, pick up a copy of Wired for War, in which Peter Singer, a fellow of the non-profit Brookings Institution in Washington DC, exhaustively documents the Pentagon's penchant for robotics. Think of it as the next step in the mechanisation of war: swords and arrows, guns, artillery, rockets, bombers, robots."
The New Scientist
James Risen, author of Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War
“@War is a remarkable achievement. Harris uses dogged shoe-leather reporting to take us deep inside the government’s surveillance and cyber operations to give an unsparing look at what the NSA and other agencies are really doing with all our data. In the age of abstract Snowden documents, @War actually introduces us to the people running America’s electronic spying machine, and offers invaluable insights into how their ambition and turf battles impact our financial security, our privacy, and our freedom.”
Thomas E. Ricks, author of Fiasco and The Generals
“A great overview of our new cyberfronts. Unlike most books about cyberwar, this one is enjoyably readable. At times it feels like a modern spy novel, but it is a guide to tomorrow’s headlines.”
Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad
“@War is a tour de force of reporting on the past, present, and future of cyber-conflict. It will be required reading both in the Pentagon and among the army of Chinese cyber spies now assaulting American businesses. Hackers, policy makers, and others will find this book both intriguing and alarming; not to mention very well written.”
"Cyber-espionage is the 'single most productive means of gathering information about our country’s adversaries,' writes Harris (The Watchers: The Rise of America’s Surveillance State), senior writer for Foreign Policy, in this unnerving exposé. After 9/11, the National Security Administration (NSA), the nation’s global information-gathering agency, submitted a wish list to the Bush administration. It was approved and the “'military-Internet complex was born.' According to Harris, electronic eavesdropping was fundamental to 2007’s Iraq surge and the NSA located Osama bin Laden through spyware planted in his operatives’ mobile phones. Readers will squirm as they learn how every communications enterprise (Google, AT&T, Verizon, Facebook) cooperates with the national security establishment. Harris delivers a convincing account of the terrible cyberdisasters that loom, and the intrusive nature of the fight to prevent them."
"Sprawling account of how the U.S. military joined forces with the National Security Agency to develop 'cyber warfare' capabilities, monitoring America's enemies and its citizens alike. Harris adeptly documents the online threats directed at American society, ranging from the Chinese military's well-funded hacking cells to large-scale information thefts committed by international crime syndicates, but he also demonstrates the NSA's insatiable collection of metadata and preparation of "backdoor" cyberweapons for future use, concluding that '[a]nonymity and collective security may be incompatible in cyberspace.'"
"Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century is illuminating, if only because we encounter the full array of military gizmos, their links to science fiction and history, and the debates about these machines that are playing out at the Pentagon and in hotel conference rooms. Yet the book will disappoint readers less interested in contraptions than in the soldiers who use them. The tension and anxieties wrought by this revolution deserve more attention here." Ian Shapira, The Washington Post Book World (read the entire Washington Post Book World review)
"riveting and comprehensive, encompassing every aspect of the rise of military robotics." --Financial Times
In Wired for War, P. W. Singer explores the greatand#173;est 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 amazand#173;ing 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.
An investigation into how the Pentagon, NSA, and other government agencies are uniting with corporations to fight in cyberspace, the next great theater of war.
A surprising, page-turning account of how the wars of the future are already being fought today
The United States military currently views cyberspace as the “fifth domain” of warfare (alongside land, air, sea, and space), and the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency, and the CIA all field teams of hackers who can, and do, launch computer virus strikes against enemy targets. In fact, as @WAR shows, U.S. hackers were crucial to our victory in Iraq. Shane Harris delves into the frontlines of America’s new cyber war. As recent revelations have shown, government agencies are joining with tech giants like Google and Facebook to collect vast amounts of information. The military has also formed a new alliance with tech and finance companies to patrol cyberspace, and Harris offers a deeper glimpse into this partnership than we have ever seen before. Finally, Harris explains what the new cybersecurity regime means for all of us, who spend our daily lives bound to the Internet — and are vulnerable to its dangers.
The first-ever inside look at the US militaryand#8217;s secretive Remotely Piloted Aircraft programand#151;equal parts techno-thriller, historical account, and war memoir
Remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), commonly referred to by the media as drones, are a mysterious and headline-making tool in the militaryand#8217;s counterterrorism arsenal. Their story has been pieced together by technology reporters, major newspapers, and on-the-ground accounts from the Middle East, but it has never been fully told by an insider.
In Hunter Killer, Air Force Lt. Col. T. Mark McCurley provides an unprecedented look at the aviators and aircraft that forever changed modern warfare. This is the first account by an RPA pilot, told from his unique-in-history vantage point supporting and executing Tier One counterterrorism missions. Only a handful of people know what itand#8217;s like to hunt terrorists from the sky, watching through the electronic eye of aircraft that can stay aloft for a day at a time, waiting to deploy their cutting-edge technology to neutralize threats to Americaand#8217;s national security.
Hunter Killer is the counterpoint to the stories from the battlefront told in books like No Easy Day and American Sniper: While special operators such as SEALs and Delta Force have received a lot of attention in recent years, no book has ever told the story of the unmanned air war. Until now.
From drones to Mars roversan exploration of the most innovative use of robots today and a provocative argument for the crucial role of humans in our increasingly technological future
In Our Robots, Ourselves, David Mindell offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the cutting edge of robotics today, debunking commonly held myths and exploring the rapidly changing relationships between humans and machines.
Drawing on firsthand experience, extensive interviews, and the latest research from MIT and elsewhere, Mindell takes us to extreme environmentshigh atmosphere, deep ocean, and outer spaceto reveal where the most advanced robotics already exist. In these environments, scientists use robots to discover new information about ancient civilizations, to map some of the worlds largest geological features, and even to commute” to Mars to conduct daily experiments. But these tools of air, sea, and space also forecast the dangers, ethical quandaries, and unintended consequences of a future in which robotics and automation suffuse our everyday lives.
Mindell argues that the stark lines weve drawn between human and not human, manual and automated, arent helpful for understanding our relationship with robotics. Brilliantly researched and accessibly written, Our Robots, Ourselves clarifies misconceptions about the autonomous robot, offering instead a hopeful message about what he calls rich human presence” at the center of the technological landscape we are now creating.
About the Author
Shane Harris is the author of The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State, which won the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism and was named one of the best books of 2010 by the Economist. Harris won the 2010 Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on National Defense. He is currently senior writer at Foreign Policy magazine and an ASU fellow at New America, where he researches the future of war. Previously, he was senior writer at the Washingtonian, and his work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Slate, The Daily Beast, the Washington Post, and numerous other publications. He has provided analysis and commentary for CNN, NPR, the BBC, and many other media organizations and radio stations.
Table of Contents
Wired For War Author's Note: Why a Book on Robots and War?
Part One: The Change We Are Creating
1. Introduction: Scenes from a Robot War
2. Smart Bombs, Norma Jeane, and Defecating Ducks: A Short History of Robotics
3. Robotics for Dummies
4. To Infinity and Beyond: The Power of Exponential Trends
5. Coming Soon to a Battlefield Near You: The Next Wave of Warbots
6. Always in the Loop? The Arming and Autonomy of Robots
7. Robotic Gods: Our Machine Creators
8. What Inspires Them: Science Fiction's Impact on Science Reality
9. The Refuseniks: The Roboticists Who Just Say No
Part Two: What Change Is Creating For Us
10. The Big Cebrowski and the Real RMA: Thinking About Revolutionary Technologies
11. "Advanced" Warfare: How We Might Fight with Robots
12. Robots That Don't Like Apple Pi: How the U.S. Could Lose the Unmanned Revolution
13. Open-Source Warfare: College Kids, Terrorists, and Other New Users of Robots at War
14. Losers and Luddites: The Changing Battlefields Robots Will Fight On and the New Electronic Sparks of War
15. The Psychology of Warbots
16. YouTube War: The Public and Its Unmanned Wars
17. Changing the Experience of War and the Warrior
18. Command and Control . . . Alt-Delete: New Technologies and Their Effect on Leadership
19. Who Let You in the War? Technology and the New Demographics of Conflict
20. Digitizing the Laws of War and Other Issues of (Un)Human Rights
21. A Robot Revolt? Talking About Robot Ethics
22. Conclusion: The Duality of Robots and Humans