Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War

Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War

by Paul Scharre


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Winner of the 2019 William E. Colby Award

"The book I had been waiting for. I can't recommend it highly enough." —Bill Gates

The era of autonomous weapons has arrived. Today around the globe, at least thirty nations have weapons that can search for and destroy enemy targets all on their own. Paul Scharre, a leading expert in next-generation warfare, describes these and other high tech weapons systems—from Israel’s Harpy drone to the American submarine-hunting robot ship Sea Hunter—and examines the legal and ethical issues surrounding their use. “A smart primer to what’s to come in warfare” (Bruce Schneier), Army of None engages military history, global policy, and cutting-edge science to explore the implications of giving weapons the freedom to make life and death decisions. A former soldier himself, Scharre argues that we must embrace technology where it can make war more precise and humane, but when the choice is life or death, there is no replacement for the human heart.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393356588
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 03/12/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 154,915
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

A former U.S. Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Paul Scharre is the director of the Technology and National Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. He has written for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Time, Foreign Affairs, and Politico, and he appears frequently on CNN, FOX News, NPR, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Virginia.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Power Over Life and Death 1

Part I Robopocalypse Now

1 The Coming Swarm: The Military Robotics Revolution 11

2 The Terminator And The Roomba: What Is Autonomy? 26

3 Machines That Kill: What Is an Autonomous Weapon? 35

Part II Building The Terminator

4 The Future Being Built Today: Autonomous Missiles, Drones, and Robot Swarms 59

5 Inside The Puzzle Palace: Is the Pentagon Building Autonomous Weapons? 78

6 Crossing The Threshold: Approving Autonomous Weapons 89

7 World War R: Robotic Weapons around the World 102

8 Garage Bots: DIY Killer Robots 120

Part III Runaway Gun

9 Robots Run Amok: Failure in Autonomous Systems 137

10 Command And Decision: Can Autonomous Weapons Be Used Safely? 161

11 Black Box: The Weird, Alien World of Deep Neural Networks 180

12 Failing Deadly: The Risk of Autonomous Weapons 189

Part IV Flash War

13 Bot vs. Bot: An Arms Race in Speed 199

14 The Invisible War: Autonomy in Cyberspace 211

15 "Summoning The Demon": The Rise of Intelligent Machines 231

Part V The Fight To Ban Autonomous Weapons

16 Robots On Trial: Autonomous Weapons and the Laws of War 251

17 Soulless Killers: The Morality of Autonomous Weapons 271

18 Playing With Fire: Autonomous Weapons and Stability 297

Part VI Averting Armageddon: The Weapon Of Policy

19 Centaur Warfighters: Humans + Machines 321

20 The Pope And The Crossbow: The Mixed History of Arms Control 331

21 Are Autonomous Weapons Inevitable?: The Search for Lethal Laws of Robotics 346


No Fate but What We Make 360


How Robotic Weapon Are Transforming the Battlefield Today 363

Notes 369

Acknowledgments 425

Abbreviations 427

Illustration Credits 429

Index 431

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