April 27, 2009

TED: P.W. Singer: Military robots and the future of war

For his TED talk, military robotics expert P.W. Singer shows how the widespread use of robots in war is changing the realities of combat. His talk is alarming and sobering -- but it needs to be said. In addition to this video, I suggest you read the article, "Towards a largely robotic battlefield."

Singer's bio:
Peter Warren Singer is the director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution -- where his research and analysis offer an eye-opening take on what the 21st century holds for war and foreign policy. His latest book, Wired for War, examines how the U.S. military has been, in the words of a recent US Navy recruiting ad, "working hard to get soldiers off the front lines" and replacing humans with machines for bombing, flying and spying. He asks big questions: What will the rise of war machines mean to traditional notions of the battlefield, like honor? His 2003 book Corporate Warriors was a prescient look at private military forces. It's essential reading for anyone curious about what went on to happen in Iraq involving these quasi-armies.

Singer is a prolific writer and essayist (for Brookings, for newspapers, and for Wired.com’s great Threat Level), and is expert at linking popular culture with hard news on what’s coming next from the military-industrial complex. Recommended: his recent piece for Brookings called "A Look at the Pentagon's Five-Step Plan for Making Iron Man Real."
Via Theoretical Transhumanism.

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