Video of the Week: PW Singer on Military Robots

And the future of war …

In this powerful talk, P.W. Singer shows how the widespread use of robots in war is changing the realities of combat. He shows us scenarios straight out of science fiction — that now may not be so fictitious.

Peter Warren Singer is the director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution — where his research and analysis offer an eye-opening take on what the 21st century holds for war and foreign policy. His latest book, Wired for War, examines how the US military has been, in the words of a recent US Navy recruiting ad, “working hard to get soldiers off the front lines” and replacing humans with machines for bombing, flying and spying. He asks big questions: What will the rise of war machines mean to traditional notions of the battlefield, like honor? His 2003 book Corporate Warriors was a prescient look at private military forces. It’s essential reading for anyone curious about what went on to happen in Iraq involving these quasi-armies.

Singer is a prolific writer and essayist (for Brookings, for newspapers, and for’s great Threat Level), and is expert at linking popular culture with hard news on what’s coming next from the military-industrial complex. Recommended: his recent piece for Brookings called “A Look at the Pentagon’s Five-Step Plan for Making Iron Man Real.”