War: The Unmanned Frontier

Humans have been at war with each other since the creation of our species. In order to remain as strong as possible, our weapons have evolved overtime to accommodate for our thirst for blood. First, the sword, meant for close hand to hand combat. Then the bow and arrow, designed for long-range attacks. Followed by the crossbow, so it was easier to reload and fire and arrow with precision. Then the gun, designed to shoot a bullet faster than the eye can see. Which led to the cannon, then the missile, to finally we get to the point where life can be eradicated in mere seconds, nuclear warheads. Although weapons have developed overtime, our soldiers still have the same vulnerable anatomy that we had from the beginning, flesh and bone. Yeah, we have Kevlar body armor and bomb protected suits, but we haven’t made it to the point where all our soldiers are outfitted with Tony Stark’s Iron Man armor. We still remain fragile to any advanced weapon on this planet. So how do we still go to war and not put our troops at risk at the same time? Simple. Advanced military robotics.


P.W. Singer is an American political scientist, an international relations scholar and a preeminent specialist on 21st century warfare. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institutions, where he is Director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative. His book Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century is a best seller that explores how science fiction begun to make its way onto our battlefields with advance robotics. In his research, Singer interviewed hundreds of robotics scientists, science fiction writers, soldiers, insurgents, politicians, lawyers, journalists, and human rights activists from around the world. In this video link at the TED conference, PW Singer on military robots and the future of war , Singer discusses how robots are used in modern warfare today to make the battlefields less manned. He described how there is a new solider in warfare, one that operates an unmanned aircraft vehicle that performs missions in the Middle East while he sets at his computers in Nevada. Singer believes that the United States is at the forefront of global technology, but that we need to keep moving forward for fear of falling behind to other countries. I believe Singer would be a great presenter here at Bucknell. With so many engineers here on campus, he describes how with Moor’s Law, technology doubles in power in the same amount of space every year. That’s why iPods are getting smaller and iPhones are getting even better every time they come out. I believe him coming here would open the students eyes to what is going on in warfare around the world and how our technology is making sure less American lives are lost.


4 thoughts on “War: The Unmanned Frontier

  1. I would actually be intrigued to see P.W. Singer speak at Bucknell. I think everyone in some way or another is impacted by wars, either past or present. I am interested about the idea that robots would fight in the battlefield instead of humans. Even though it would be amazing to keep soldiers away from dangerous situations as much as possible, I fear that war will become too detached. I don’t know if it would still be humans pulling the triggers, but would it be easier, morally and physically, to kill the enemy? I would love to hear P.W. Singer’s view on how war will continue to evolve.

  2. Although I do feel like PW Singer is a very interesting speaker and could captivate a lot of audiences, I just dont know if he would be a good speaker here at Bucknell at this time. I feel his subject of war would not resonate too much with people, and I do not think Bucknell necessarily wants to host a discussion on the future of war, violence, and terrorism. It is an interesting topic, but I am not sure talking about weapons and their future is a good move, especially around this time when so much of the public is concerned with gun laws.

  3. What do you think the fact that weaponry is evolving at such a rapid pace and human’s level of protection is remaining the same? How will this impact modern warfare as we know it?

  4. If Singer was to give a talk here, I would be more interested in hearing his views on technology than on warfare. We all know modern warfare is changing and I’ve read articles on how war is becoming more and more like a video game. However, I think his talk would be better if he talked about technology in general, especially to suit a Bucknell student audience.


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