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Last 100 Entries

Entries in Wired For War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century (22)

Friday
03Apr

Response to Innes: The Medium is the Message?

[Ed's Note: In a rather ironic twist, part of this post got lost in cyberspace somewhere, so it is now updated and in its complete form.]  

Marshall McLuhan famously declared that "The Medium is the Message."  By this, McLuhan meant that "This is merely to say that the personal and societal consequences of any medium -- that is, of any extension of ourselves -- result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by such extension of ourselves, or by any new technology."

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Thursday
02Apr

Rewired For War: Militant Operating Environments

I just came out of a conversation with an editor at a major magazine, in which I was embarassingly incapable of intelligently relating my own alleged expertise on insurgent and terrorist sanctuaries to the open discussion on the subject that just threaded its way through the blogosphere over the last few days. The conversation forced me to think hard about what my issues were with the debate, which earn the editor in question a mention in the acknowledgments whenever I get the damn book written

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Thursday
02Apr

Sci-Fi and the EMA: Evolution in Military Affairs

Robert Goldich’s review of Wired for War, published in the Small Wars Journal a few days ago, makes the point that if the revolution in warfare that Singer sees actually takes place, it will take much longer to come to fruition that envisioned in the book. To which, I would add that the revolution will probably not look at all like anything Singer projects as on the horizon.

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Thursday
02Apr

The ethical dilemmas of the robotic revolution

After the more instrumental concerns of command and control, I would here like to consider the ethical issues raised by the development of robotic systems and the consequent removal from harm of military personnel (one of the recurrent claims made in Wired for War is that these machines are saving the lives of young Americans). Precision-guided munitions were seen to make possible the vision of an ethically superior form of warfare, in which the lofty humanitarian ideals invoked for a conflict such as Kosovo

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Thursday
02Apr

Challenge: From the Small Wars Council

All - see the comments below, from SWC council member William F. Owen, asking "How Relevant Is This?":

Just looked through some of the posts on CTlab, and a couple of points spring to mind.

Closely observing the one military to make extensive use of "unmanned vehicles" in a recent conflict, I can safely say that NO ONE is talking about autonomy, in the terms currently being discussed and especially when it comes to lethality.

The primary uses of "unmanned systems" are pretty well codified and pretty well understood, based on recent experience. None of the items raised so far are in any way much relevant to how the actual user communities see the capabilities developing.

The current areas of discussion have very little to do with law (other than ROE) and everything to do with application within the battle space, where ever that maybe.

This is more for some participants than for others, but worth addressing one way or the other. Discuss (please). 

Thursday
02Apr

Response to Brynen

This began as a response to Rex Brynen's post, but it got too long so now here it is at the top of the Symposium. (Bwah ha ha!!) Brynen argues that it is no puzzle that humanitarian law organizations are non-plussed by the question of autonomous weapons, because in fact the weapons enhance humanitarianism rather than threaten it. Ken makes a similar case. Let me outline why I disagree. 

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Thursday
02Apr

Weapons Bans and Autonomous Battlefield Robots

As the resident lawyer of this august group, I suppose I should say something about the laws of war as applied to battlefield robots.  Not that you would not be able to find a gazillion lawyers who would say something different.  However:

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Thursday
02Apr

Robots as Strategic Corporals

My thoughts below on the subject of unmanned warfare focus on primarily on the affects of robots that roam amongst the people. Whether acting as insurgent or counterinsurgent – and the impact of the two is very different – the role robots play in the psychological struggle locally and globally, as well as their effect on policy makers must be more thoroughly discussed.

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Wednesday
01Apr

Culture Change (In the Near Future)?

One of the implications of the use of unmanned aerial vehicles(UAV) - remotely piloted - is a direct challenge to the culture of the USAF (and likely other air arms). By way of background, in the 30s and early 40s, there were "flying sergeants" in many air arms such as the USMC and the RAF. By the end of WWII the enlisted pilots were gone or on their way to being gone, and when the USAF was established in 1947, all Air Force pilots were commissioned officers.

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Wednesday
01Apr

Response to Brynen

In reading Rex Brynen's response to Charli Carpenter, I found myself thinking about the implications of robots with AI on the battlefield and their potential to commit atrocities and "go berserk."  But, at any rate, I'm not sure I entirely agree with Rex. Rex states that "Even with regard to AI-driven weapons, it doesn't pose much of an intellectual challenge to see how these fit within current international legal principles: if you deploy a weapons system that is, by design or predictable defect, prone to kill indiscriminately, you are in grave breach of international conventions."

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