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VWN Product Reviews: Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century
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Site Shop > Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century




?We are on the cusp of a massive shift in military technology that threatens to make real the stuff of I, Robot, and Terminator. More than twelve thousand robotic systems are now deployed in Iraq. Pilots sitting in Nevada are remotely killing terrorists in Afghanistan. Scientists are debating just how smart ? and how lethal ? to make their robotic creations.?

So starts this unique book, looking at the transition in the US, from an army of men and women, flesh and blood, towards a cyborg military, and increasingly an autonomous robotic one.

Dressed up as real stories from the fighting fronts of recent wars, and varying between a novelistic format, and a textbook one, this book is definitely an easy read, despite the sheer amount of information it presents. Military robotic history and development is only part of the story. Singer goes into civilian robotics as well, showing how advances there, led into battle robots of today.

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.

At 512 pages long, this book does not skimp on any details, and even leads the reader towards the conclusion that an all robotic army will make wars more likely, not less, and providing all manner of perspectives both encouraging and disturbing. These pages shake many deeply held preconceptions of war, where it is fought, how it is fought, and perhaps most disturbing of all, where it is not fought today, but will be.

Chapter Listing:

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 Techniques
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

 

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