Show 46 – First broadcast 17th April 2009
Featured Interview Special: Peter W. Singer
I started out to collect a short interview from author Peter Singer about his new book but I was so gripped by what he had to say, I decided to devote the whole programme to it. I hope you agree that this is really important stuff.
Peter W. Singer is the director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative and a senior fellow in Foreign Policy at Brookings. Singer’s research focuses on three core issues: the future of war, current U.S. defense needs and future priorities, and the future of the U.S. defense system. Singer lectures frequently to U.S. military audiences and is the author of several books and articles.
I talked to him about his most recent book. Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century.
This book has been highly praised by such a variety of people from National Security Advisors to TV chat show hosts like John Stewart. I thought that it was a great read – really entertainingly written for such a serious topic.
If you have been listening to the Sound of Science for a while, you will know that I am always banging on about the new military development in autonomous weapons and robots. Many of these, such as bomb disposal robots, can save soldiers and civilian lives and so they are a good thing. But many of the robots, especially in the air, are armed and designed to kill people. These are changing the face of war in an unpredictable way. There are even plans to let robots go out and kill people on their own and decide who to kill.
Well Peter Singer has been out there interviewing a lot of people from 5 star generals to the people who make the robots to the people who control them and he tells us about the disturbing things he found out.
The book is not currently in UK book shops but you can buy it from amazon.co.uk