If you’ve seen either of my recent robotics projects then you might suspect I have some slight fascination with the more exotic forms our technology can take. Which it not to say that I don’t have reservations, nor do I think there’s anything glamorous about the more sinister forms such innovations can take.
Which is why I was really interested to read Singer’s book, Wired for War.
After having seen him at TED I came to believe that he was someone who could appreciate the duality such developments bring. It’s not that I believe Skynet is near, and many of these new ‘bots are really cool. Rather, it’s actually the human side of these components which causes concerns, do we really think weapons of war should be the same as playing on your gaming system?
Singer more then delivers, both illuminating the fascinatingly secret world of military robotics as well as raising some serious moral and social implications of such situations. For example, predator drones are flown by ‘combatants’ which technically makes them valid military targets, however these operators never leave US soil and often go home to their families at night.
In the arts of peace Man is a bungler. I have seen his cotton factories and the like, with machinery that a greedy dog could have invented if it had wanted money instead of food. I know his clumsy typewriters and bungling locomotives and tedious bicycles: they are toys compared to the Maxim gun, the submarine torpedo boat. There is nothing in Man’s industrial machinery but his greed and sloth: his heart is in his weapons. This marvellous force of Life of which you boast is a force of Death: Man measures his strength by his destructiveness
– George Bernard Shaw