Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century

Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P. W. Singer

Book Description – Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century

Product Details Paperback: 512 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (December 29, 2009) Language: English
ISBN-10: 0143116843
ISBN-13: 978-0143116844
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Brookings Institute fellow Singer (
Children at War) believes that we resist trying to research and understand change in the making of war. Robotics promises to be the most comprehensive instrument of change in war since the introduction of gunpowder. Beginning with a brief and useful survey of robotics, Singer discusses its military applications during WWII, the arming and autonomy of robots at the turn of the century, and the broad influence of robotics on near-future battlefields. How, for example, can rules of engagement for unmanned autonomous machines be created and enforced? Can an artificial intelligence commit a war crime? Arguably more significant is Singers provocative case that war itself will be redefined as technology creates increasing physical and emotional distance from combat. As robotics diminishes wars risks the technology diminishes as well the higher purposes traditionally used to justify it. Might that reduce humanitys propensity for war making? Or will robotics make war less humane by making it less human? Singer has more questions than answers—but it is difficult to challenge his concluding admonition to question and study the technologies of military robotics—while the chance remains.
(Jan. 26)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
–This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“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.”

Financial Times

“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.” Singer’s 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 boy’s 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 come–the 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.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Genuinely Provocative”
Book Forum

“…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 obsesses—over 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.”
Details Magazine

“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

–This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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