Twitter Snapshot: P.W. Singer on robots of war

Posted by: Tedstaff

Chris Anderson managed to sum up the mood at TED2009, and on Twitter, when he described P.W. Singer’s presentation on robots and war as “a bit frightening.”


Here are some of your thoughts, as tweeted in recent minutes:

Scary presentation. Democratization of technologies of warfare will be accessible to all, fallacy to think only nation states will play — glanceteel

PW Singer’s lead off TED talk on military technology depressing, chilling and numbing. — trib

PW Singer – There is serious competition between the US, other nations and private players for dominance. Think AlQaeda/Unibomber. TED2009 — wanyama

Other tweets proved that TEDsters can see humor in all things:

Just realised that a robot is about to replace me ted –

Thank you P.W. Singer for the nightmare of all those at home following along in their cubicles taking revenge on us TED folks — faketed

Keep checking in for the latest Twitter roundups from TED2009.

Photo: TED / Asa Mathat

Comments (1)

  • Markus Fabell commented on Feb 16 2009

    Autonomous sentry robots that shoot and kill on sight stationed at the borders of Korea and Israel, more than 12,000 war robots presently serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, funding for the US Future Combat System exceeding $230 billion …

    Singer made some good points. But the problem in realistic situations is usually the time component: Go to war killing 1 innocent now to save 10 innocents over the next 5 years? What makes this devilish is the difficulty in accurately predicting the next 5 years.

    Using robots for combats will not improve our accuracy in predicting future outcomes. All it will do is reduce the costs of going to war (both, human/political and financial costs), and further desensitivize us to warfare (we’ve all experienced this from watching TV).

    Some good background material here: 

    Gianmarco Veruggio – Roboethics
    Noel Sharkey – Robot Ethics (Part 1)
    Ronald Arkin – Robot Ethics (Part 2) (coming up)