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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 14 January 2010
Having spent my working life mainly on weapons delivery systems I was attracted to this publication, What an eye opener! What a lengthy read - 500 pages. What astonishing facts. The book does much, much more than describe the flash-bang-wallop of aerial drones and terrestial military robots. It examines and describes in great detail the psychological associations and consequences of this astonishing technology; especially as used in recent years in real war scenarios. Some of the detail descriptions make you stop and think. This is Grand Theft Auto 'real life' stuff. Overall a VERY well researched and produced publication which should be compulsory reading for anyone involved with modern military matters, and of great interest to a wider public. I cannot recommend it enough.
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on 26 March 2010
A comprehensive study of the next "Revolution in Military Affairs", the rise of the autonomous fighting robot. Opening with a fascinating history of robots (originally named after the Czech for "serf"), "Wired for War" deals not only with the hardware but also at the strategic, tactical, legal, ethical & moral implications of outsourcing the killing of fellow human beings to emotionless drones & robots. These latter aspects are, for me, the most fascinating as technology rarely (if ever) works in a vacuum but rather impacts on the society using it.

From the effects on present-day US-based killer drone pilots of having to switch from killing insurgents during the day to attending a PTA meeting in the evening to the legal & moral quagmire resulting from ever-greater use of artificial intelligence in warfighting.

The book is written in an easy, journalistic style with plenty of first-person interviews with the key players. One (minor) quibble - the regular cultural references are determinably & obscurely American-centric that will mean nothing to the vast majority of any non-US audience (even the reference to "The Office" refers to the American re-make).

Tat aside, this should be a key text for both policy-makers & military staff colleges as well as the citizens in whose name these systems are being developed and increasingly deployed.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 February 2016
Singer has shown previously in Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatilized Military Industry that he can do an excellent job of analysing military matters - not perhaps so much from the perspective of tactical warfighting but more from the view of broader trend analysis. 'Wired for War' follows in the same mould, this time looking at issues of unmanned combat systems.

Be it UAVs (armed or unarmed), combat robots, or any other form of military platform without a human directly in control - and directly in the line of fire - he covers them all in terms of their implications, use and likely future trends.

The book tackles moral as well as legal issues - for instance is a drone pilot fair game to be shot on the way back from the store in the US as a combatant or not - the issues of developers including civilian and military funding and their consequences, the adaptation of the opponents (i.e. reuse of US military robots by insurgents in Iraq) and many, many more.

You will see a glimpse of the military of the future but at the same time get so much more. It is an impressive book, with a wealth of primary research having been conducted to create it.

The scope also makes it appealing for more than just people with military interests (whether professional or as a hobby), as it tackles some fundamental issues of our near future. While not short, it is well written and structured and I can highly recommend it as reading material, if you are wondering what a revolution of military affairs might really mean for us.
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on 24 April 2016
I expected more from this book and was disappointed to find it was basically a collection of lecture notes put together in book form with no coherent narrative. The book has little information on the technical capability of the drones or their development.
Also, I would expect a man writing on computers and artificial intelligence to know that Colossus was not used the break the enigma code. (Wikipedia has an good article on what Colossus was actually used for).
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on 16 August 2011
Whether you're interested in war or not, this book will contain relevant insights, as robotics are becoming and more more ubiquitous. It contains a very comprehensive account both of the current state of Robotics, and the place of robots (present and future) in war, although he also spends some time looking at the potential of popular comercial robots (such as the Roomba) too.

The technical aspect of robotics only forms part of this account - the author spends a lot of the book dealing with the potential effects and moral questions surrounding robotics, as robots become more autonomous and intelligent, and the current reactions (or sometimes lack of reaction) to these issues. It's clear we need (as a species) to start thinking about what we want from robots.

Well written, with exhaustive references, and packed with information & insights.
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on 20 October 2011
This book offers a interesting review of the robotic warfare, the 'new' experience of unmanned wars on warriors, and their effect on war commanders. It also examines the next wave of warbots, how we might fight with robots, the psychology of warbots, laws of war, robot revolt and robot ethics.

Technologic implants might be used to enhance our human capabilities in war. DARPA has already initiated a "AugCog" augmented cognition program. It aims to implant the memory chips that robots use inside the human body, which might help our brains to overcome the data overload problem. These 'cyborgs' might be the only way to keep up with warbots and the new robotic technologies. However, resistance is futile. Good Read!
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on 15 October 2009
Bought the book after seeing a presentation on the web by the author back in April.

The books starts of by introducing some of the main players, talks about some of technological improvements. Later chapters feature the active use of robots and UAVs with theatres of war like Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the psychological effects of using technology both for the people operating the technology and those on the receiving end.

The author has spoken to people right across the board from university professors, to senior military officers to grunts on the ground and even people on the receiving end living in places like Palistinian 'Occupied Territories'.

Makes fascinating reading and would interest anyone who likes guns, robots, science fiction or all of the above.
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on 10 August 2014
Singer has spent a lot of time with the manufacturers and operators of military robots and shows that the armed forces have undergone a radical shift of attitude towards robotics over the last 5 years.

They have moved from rejection, to wholesale acceptance of devices such as the Predator (an ariel robot using remote control and GPS). It's cheaper than a jet fighter, can stay in the air longer, is more accurate, can operate at lower altitude and doesn't risk a pilot's life. It's now official policy, wherever possible, to switch to robotic fighting machines on land, sea and air.

He explores this fast changing situation and considers the issue of robot autonomy (robots collecting information and making their own decisions) concluding that humans are being increasingly "pushed out of the loop" for simple operational reasons. Basically they aren't fast enough and get in the way.

He reflects on the Singularity, and the widespread expectation of this event in the robotics community, and at the way that no one seems to care. They are very much focused on building better and more capable machines.
Overall a very interesting book.
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on 23 March 2015
Some chapters of this book are very interesting - the ones (around 100 pages) about the actual 'robotic' devises which are currently being used by the military. It is, however, a bit messy and does not have a clear structure. The rest consists of speculations and predictions about where technology is going, what the consequences will be and whether we can stop it. This is not nearly as interesting, since it is very subjective! Clearly the author is very pro robots and pro war. Just the term 'refuseniks' he uses abiut scientiss which do not want to work on military projects says it all. These around 300 pages are in my view very long-winded and completely without structure, considering many of the same topics over and over.

I had hoped much more emphasys on the actual technologies, how they work and how they were developed, and views into actual research projects, in stead of lengthy deliberations about artificial inteligence, and how stupid those of us, who don't think war robots are so great, are.
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on 23 November 2015
A very interesting book.
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