Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War

Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War

A Pentagon defense expert and former U.S. Army Ranger explores what it would mean to give machines authority over the ultimate decision of life or death.

What happens when a Predator drone has as much autonomy as a Google car? Or when a weapon that can hunt its own targets is hacked? Although it sounds like science fiction, the technology already exists to create weapons that can attack targets without human input. Paul Scharre, a leading expert in emerging weapons technologies, draws on deep research and firsthand experience to explore how these next-generation weapons are changing warfare.

Scharre’s far-ranging investigation examines the emergence of autonomous weapons, the movement to ban them, and the legal and ethical issues surrounding their use. He spotlights artificial intelligence in military technology, spanning decades of innovation from German noise-seeking Wren torpedoes in World War II―antecedents of today’s homing missiles―to autonomous cyber weapons, submarine-hunting robot ships, and robot tank armies. Through interviews with defense experts, ethicists, psychologists, and activists, Scharre surveys what challenges might face "centaur warfighters" on future battlefields, which will combine human and machine cognition. We’ve made tremendous technological progress in the past few decades, but we have also glimpsed the terrifying mishaps that can result from complex automated systems―such as when advanced F-22 fighter jets experienced a computer meltdown the first time they flew over the International Date Line.

At least thirty countries already have defensive autonomous weapons that operate under human supervision. Around the globe, militaries are racing to build robotic weapons with increasing autonomy. The ethical questions within this book grow more pressing each day. To what extent should such technologies be advanced? And if responsible democracies ban them, would that stop rogue regimes from taking advantage? At the forefront of a game-changing debate, Army of None engages military history, global policy, and cutting-edge science to argue that we must embrace technology where it can make war more precise and humane, but without surrendering human judgment. When the choice is life or death, there is no replacement for the human heart.

Title:Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War
ISBN:9780393608984
Format Type:

About Paul Scharre


    Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War Reviews

  • Daniel

    Good book that explores the future of autonomous weapons. These weapons range from loitering munitions to drones to nuclear command and control systems (think war games). Further, the book explores no...

  • Mick

    A very good exploration of autonomous weapons, AI, and the potential of future technology in war. Written in very simple language. Worth your time....

  • Maria

    The US military has paid millions of dollars to stay at the technological cutting edge. Scharre walks the reader thru the various weapon platforms that are in development and the arguments for and aga...

  • Artur Coelho

    Debatemos a automação e robótica como uma inevitabilidade, dando como adquirido um futuro próximo onde os robots, sob as mais variadas formas, de grandes máquinas industriais a algoritmos de inte...

  • Lachinchon

    Paul Scharre’s book is a balanced, evenhanded presentation of the arguments and issues involved in the development, restriction, or ban of fully autonomous weapons (and weapons of lesser degrees of ...

  • R L

    A thought-provoking book about autonomous weaponry and the modern era, with insights on every aspect of autonomy from rhoombas to terminators. With artificial intelligence making headlines everyday as...

  • Tyler

    This was a stellar book! Well researched, and yet well written so it is accessible and enjoyable for all. If you are curious about the history of autonomy, where we are now, and what the future may ho...

  • Niels Bergervoet

    A really great overview of autonomous weapons, AI in weaponry and all the issues concerned with it. What is really special about this book is that the author can clearly eplain this really complex deb...

  • Vicky Karyoti

    Paul Scharre's Army of None is an essential book for anyone interested in the present and future of AI and Autonomous Weapons. Written with a clarity and sophistication that renders even the advanced ...

  • Michael D. Kanner

    With this, Scharre shows that he is one of the best writers on technology and security today. Using his military and bureaucratic experience, he discusses the technological, legal and ethical challeng...