Rachel's Reviews > Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century

Wired for War by P.W. Singer
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's review
Aug 03, 09

bookshelves: technology, military
Read in June, 2009

I found this book an excellent overview of the state of the art of military robotics. Singer's style is easy to read and entertaining, and he covered a huge range of ideas in a (relatively!) small space. The book briefly covers the history of warfare, history of computers, and history of robotics. It includes backgrounds on and discussions with the major players in the military robotics field, as well as digressions on non-military robotics and non-robotic military issues. Finally, there is some speculation about the future of both robotics and warfare, based on current trends.

If anything, though this is a pretty hefty book, I would have liked it to be twice as long. The issue of when a robot reaches self-awareness and deserves rights got a couple of pages, for example. That could easily have been (and is, by other authors) a book on its own. And speculation about future warfare was limited, both by uncertainty and page space. The state of the art is obviously dated -- there were several breakthroughs that deserved mention in the book, but happened between manuscript acceptance and publication. So, um, read it quickly, before it's too out of date! It's a fun and thought provoking book, and has a complete set of notes and references at the end, which led me to several other interesting works and websites to keep an eye on.

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