Drones, war, science fiction, cybercrime. A conversation with an expert in the future of warfare



In 2009, political scientist P.W. Singer gave a TED Talk in which he predicted that the growing use of robots in war would change the realities of combat. Four years, and thousands of US drone strikes later, he talks to journalist Matthew Power; an edited version of their conversation follows.

Matthew Power: In a recent article you discussed how science fiction writers like H.G. Wells and Arthur Conan Doyle predicted technologies that then became part of our world. And now you’re working on a novel. Do you see sci-fi today predicting developments on a further horizon than we’re talking about?

P.W. Singer: The interplay between science fiction and the real world is a force that has been there for centuries. At one point, it was through writers like H.G. Wells, because the novel was the main vector for entertainment. Then we moved on to movies and TV shows — think of…

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