Saturday, September 2, 2017

Future War | Robert H. Latiff

*Image and book provided by NetGalley for an honest review.


Retired U.S. Air Force major general Robert H. Latiff has written this book to inform the public about current, pending and future technologies used in war. He has also written a plea to the American public to pay attention to these technologies, their uses and users and to debate the possible consequences.


The first part of this book showed me just how close we are to the military Sci-Fi books I love becoming a lot less Sci-Fi. This both thrilled and terrified me. In the Sci-Fi books, the technologies are already common place and the errors minimized. We're still in the testing phases and the full ramifications are not yet thought through. 

The technologies that we are looking at are amazing developments, if they can be perfected. We've seen videos of amputees controlling robot actions with their mind. There are news stories about technological advances allowing for faster healing. We're even getting closer to being able to delete bad memories. These technologies are amazing. But they're not always good. What are the psychological side effects of knowing that a lost limb can be regrown or replaced? If you don't remember the bad things, even horrors, that you've done, are you still responsible for them? 

There are even questions to consider about robots being brought into war zones. We've already seen in real life how algorithms do not always go as we think they will, as we plan they will. Artificial intelligence is still in rough stages. Being able to beat humans at games is one thing. Being able to make the right call on the battlefield is another. And what about the soldiers who serve alongside these robots? How will it affect their behavior? Their calls?

This book does a wonderful job of presenting the technology, presenting the questions that need to be asked, and giving the common citizen a good place to start their own research and education on the topic. Latiff laments the chasm that's been steadily forming between US Troops and US citizens and pleads for citizens to educate themselves and start closing that gap. After reading this book, I have expanded my daily news topics and will be looking up a number of the books he lists in his notes. 

If you have any interest in the future of technology, the current or future state of warfare, how to support our troops more effectively, this is the book for you. If you have any interest in joining the US Armed Forces, you will want to read this book as well. I highly encourage any and all US citizens to pick this up and learn more about what is involved when politicians talk about sending out our troops.



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