The nine stories that make up Isaac Asimov’s “I, Robot,” written in the 1940s, not only foresaw a day when autonomous machines would assume the more mundane and dangerous chores performed by people, they also foreshadowed problems humans would encounter as they learned not only how to use and control their robots, but how to live with them as well. The world that Asimov envisioned is here. Today, new and more dynamic uses of robots are being explored and tested. Even the way we wage war is not immune as robotic devices of every shape and description are being tested and fielded by armed forces around the world. Remotely controlled and autonomous machines that perform reconnaissance, security, mine detection, logistical support and even combat are making their way into the Army’s order of battle. It is changing the way Americans fight. It is a change that will not come easy. Nor will it come without a price.Nathan Dixon, a mid-career Army officer, discovers just how different the Army that he has dedicated his life to will look in the future when he is assigned the task of investigating a friendly fire incident involving a rogue unmanned ground combat vehicle, or UGV. This is no easy task for an officer that has yet to learn how to deal with the self interests that a project such as the UGV program is capable of creating. In addition to working with the commanding officer of the unit testing the UGVs, a man determined to save his career, and dealing with the civilian contractor charged with seeing that the UGVs his company is building succeeds no matter what, Dixon must not only find out what happened but who, if anyone, was responsible for the sequence of events that caused the incident.
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