US News and World Report interviews Brent Scowcroft Center Nonresident Senior Fellow August Cole on how he combines sci-fi and reality to portray future weapons and gadgets in his new novel, Ghost Fleet:
Q: Robotics of all kinds are depicted in the story – including drone submarines, firefighting robots and artificial intelligence battle systems, including autonomous drones. Which of these are being developed now and which do you think will be debuted first?
A: The world will see robotics applied in everything from delivering food to delivering bombs. The recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been like World War I for sci-fi weapons, when submarines and planes didn’t truly reach their full potential but proved their worth. The next major conflict is going to see them truly reach their fruition, and the books depicts that. We talked with military officers who may be operating alongside unmanned systems and asked “how are pilots going to feel when they are sharing the skies with autonomous planes?” We are already seeing drones used by many different factions for war. We see insurgents making robotic improvised explosive devices and insurgent groups like the Islamic State group and Hezbollah have already flown their own drones.