War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World


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Skip to content Skip to search. Published New York : Gotham Books, Language English. Physical Description p. Subjects Military history, Modern.

Military art and science -- Technological innovations. Target Audience Adult Summary "A history that ranges from the defeat of the Spanish Armada to the War on Terrorism, War Made New is a provocative new vision of the rise of the modern world through the lens of warfare.

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Max Boot explores how innovations in weaponry and tactics have not only transformed how wars are fought and won but also guided the course of human events, from the formation of the first modern states, to the collapse of the Soviet Union, to the coming of al Qaeda. Notes Includes bibliographical references p. Dewey Number View online Borrow Buy Freely available Show 0 more links Set up My libraries How do I set up "My libraries"?

The sensors for weapons like Brimstone need to be a lot more fly than those required by, say, self-driving cars, not just because battlefields are chaotic, but also because the other side will be trying to disorient them. Just as some activists use asymmetric make-up to try to confuse face-recognition systems, so military targets will try to distort the signatures which autonomous weapons seek to discern.

The trouble is that there is little agreement on where the line is crossed. As well as trying to develop a common understanding of what weapons should be considered fully autonomous, it is considering both a blanket ban and other options for dealing with the humanitarian and security challenges that they create.


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But they differ on what this actually means. It also requires accountability. In some contexts it might be right to vet every target.


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In others it is sufficient to understand the threat and act accordingly. Long-legged as they are, they may encounter a wide range of target environments that could be hard to anticipate. They could be in or out of meaningful human control depending on where they end up, the competence and experience of the operators, what is likely to step into their path and, potentially, changes to their algorithms made through on-board machine learning. A field day for ethicists; a nightmare for the would-be treaty-makers. The two dozen states that want a legally binding ban on fully autonomous weapons are mostly military minnows like Djibouti and Peru, but some members, such as Austria, have diplomatic sway.

None of them has the sort of arms industry that stands to profit from autonomous weapons. They ground their argument in part on International Humanitarian Law IHL , a corpus built around the rules of war laid down in the Hague and Geneva conventions. This demands that armies distinguish between combatants and civilians, refrain from attacks where the risk to civilians outweighs the military advantage, use no more force than is proportional to the objective and avoid unnecessary suffering.

And this is before wily enemies try to dupe the robots into attacking the wrong things. Necessity and proportionality, which requires weighing human lives against military aims, are even more difficult. An army that uses autonomous weapons needs to be set up so as to be able to make proportionality decisions before anything is fired.

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They would thus fail to respect human dignity. As for the dictates of public conscience, research and history show that they are more flexible than a humanitarian would wish. Leaving aside law and ethics, autonomous weapons could pose new destabilising risks. Beyond the core group advocating a ban there is a range of opinions.

Most Insane Future Weapons

China has indicated that it supports a ban in principle; but on use, not development. India, which chaired the GGE , is reserving its position. It is eager to avoid a repeat of nuclear history, in which technological have-nots were locked out of game-changing weaponry by a discriminatory treaty. At the far end of the spectrum a group of states, including America, Britain and Russia, explicitly opposes the ban. These countries insist that existing international law provides a sufficient check on all future systems—not least through Article 36 reviews, which they say should be taken more seriously rather than ducked, as some countries do today.

They argue that the law should not be governed by the shortcomings of current systems when it comes to, say, discrimination. Some even argue that autonomous weapons might make war more humane. Human warriors break the IHL rules.

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War made new weapons, warriors, and the making of the modern world

Properly programmed robots might be unable to. But how long until an embattled army decided to loosen such tethers and let slip the robodogs of war? Which brings back one of the biggest problems that advocates of bans and controls have to face. Arms control requires verification, and this will always be a vexed issue when it comes to autonomy. Blog at WordPress. WP Designer.

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War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World
War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World
War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World
War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World
War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World
War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World War Made New: Weapons, Warriors, and the Making of the Modern World

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