GGG#003: Robots! War Machines! Robolobsters! (Guest: P. W. Singer)


P.W. Singer, author of Wired for War, joins us this week to talk about the subject of robots in the military and the intersection between video games and war. John and Dave consider some of the science fiction works that influenced the development of robots as we know them.



0:00 Introduction by

0:42 Dave and John introduce the show

Interview: P.W. Singer

01:14 About author Peter Warren Singer, his book Wired for War. and his other works: Corporate Warriors: the Rise of the Privatized Military Industry, and Children at War

P. W. Singer02:12 Interview begins

02:22 War robots in use today in air and on land, from the Predator drone to medic robots REX and REV

04:29 Undersea military robots, including the Robolobster. We are not making this up.

05:19 Robots in the new domains: outer space and cyberspace

05:59 Are military robots really a step forward?

07:52 Soldiers and their relationship to military robots

09:43 Combat pilots vs. drone pilots

13:18 Big butts and strong bladders: how technology affects roles in modern warfare

14:25 The relationship between video games and war: games patterned after war, and training soldiers using video games

16:25 A side effect of “militainment”: Avatar Fatigue

16:57 When should we buy our robot attack insurance? On strong AI and self-will

19:09 Ways in which robots could be used against us, and the Open Source Warfare phenomenon

21:12 “Oops” moments with your robot, both comical and tragic

22:13 Robots, the law, and accountability

23:53 Robots, wetware, and the Luke Skywalker Effect: the present and future of cyborgs

26:04 Androids: why would we make robots look and work like us?

28:11 Why is science fiction better at predicting the future than government is?

31:16 End of interview

Dave and John talk about some of the science fiction works mentioned during the interview

32:05 I, Robot by Isaac Asimov, and the Three Laws of Robotics

34:47 Dave talks about one of the short stories in I, Robot, “Liar”

37:03 John talks about Robocop 2 and its Three Directives

39:33 Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. The book and the movie, plus the Sarcos Suit

41:36 Short story, “Descendent” by Iain M. Banks

41:59 Armor by John Steakley

43:20 The Forever War by Joe Haldeman

44:47 Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

46:00 Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

47:06 Movies: Terminator and The Matrix

50:22 On robots and eternity: Short story “Sleepy Joe” by Mark Laidlaw and Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams

51:53 Dave on Robocop and the portrayal of corporations in films

53:20 More on the influence of Starship Troopers

53:58 More on I, Robot, the movie vs. the book

56:30 John contrasts the way science is portrayed in the work of Michael Crichton and Robert J. Sawyer, and the guys discuss the Techothriller genre

01:00:13 Show wrap-up

Next week: Marjorie M. Liu, Marvel Comics writer of NYX and Dark Wolverine and author of the Hunter Kiss and Dirk and Steele series.

Thanks for listening!

John Joseph Adams ( is an anthologist, a writer, and a geek. He is the editor of the anthologies By Blood We Live, Federations, The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Living Dead (a World Fantasy Award finalist), Seeds of Change, and Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse. He is currently assembling several other anthologies, including Brave New Worlds, The Living Dead 2, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, and The Way of the Wizard. He worked for more than eight years as an editor at The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and is currently the fiction editor of Lightspeed Magazine, which launches in June 2010.

David Barr Kirtley ( is a writer living in New York who has been called “one of the newest and freshest voices in sf.” His short fiction appears in magazines such as Realms of Fantasy and Weird Tales, and in anthologies such as The Living Dead, New Voices in Science Fiction, and Fantasy: The Best of the Year, 2008 Edition.

Show notes compiled by podtern Christie Yant. Friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Back to the top of the page


This post is closed for comments.

Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.