In P.W. Singer's most recent book, "Wired for War," he studies robotic and drone warfighters — and explores how these new war machines are changing the very nature of human conflict. He has also written on other facets of modern war, including private armies and child soldiers.

Why you should listen

Peter Warren Singer is the director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution -- where his research and analysis offer an eye-opening take on what the 21st century holds for war and foreign policy. His latest book, Wired for War, examines how the US military has been, in the words of a recent US Navy recruiting ad, "working hard to get soldiers off the front lines" and replacing humans with machines for bombing, flying and spying. He asks big questions: What will the rise of war machines mean to traditional notions of the battlefield, like honor? His 2003 book Corporate Warriors was a prescient look at private military forces. It's essential reading for anyone curious about what went on to happen in Iraq involving these quasi-armies.

Singer is a prolific writer and essayist (for Brookings, for newspapers, and for Wired.com's great Threat Level), and is expert at linking popular culture with hard news on what's coming next from the military-industrial complex. Recommended: his recent piece for Brookings called "A Look at the Pentagon's Five-Step Plan for Making Iron Man Real."

What others say

“Singer's strength lies in the way that he has meticulously pulled together practically all the available evidence and research.” — New York Review of Books

P.W. Singer’s TED talk

P.W. Singer on the TED Blog

Quotes from P.W. Singer

Robots are emotionless, so they don’t get upset if their buddy is killed, they don’t commit crimes of rage and revenge. But … they see an 80-year-old grandmother in a wheelchair the same way they see a T80 tank; they’re both just a series of zeros and ones.
P.W. Singer
TED2009 • 1.1M views Apr 2009
Informative, Fascinating
What one Predator drone pilot described of his experience fighting in the Iraq war while never leaving Nevada: ‘You’re going to war for 12 hours, shooting weapons at targets, directing kills on enemy combatants. Then you get in the car and you drive home, and within 20 minutes you’re sitting at the dinner table talking to your kids about their homework.’
P.W. Singer
TED2009 • 1.1M views Apr 2009
Informative, Fascinating