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Warbots Book 3 – Is this our future?

In this third installment of Warbots, G. Harry Stine takes us into a world where we have become used to humans and robots fighting side by side. It isn’t that far off from what we see today. At the time it was written no one would have considered it possible, but today we take some of what he showed us for granted, perhaps we are not to the same point he is indicating, but we can at least see it from where we are.

The mark of a great fiction writer, especially science fiction, is that he makes us think. In this book he explores topics we have, and in some ways still are exploring as a nation. These include things like women in combat, what do you do if you have people trapped in an embassy and you have to go rescue them, what happens if we can’t get to that embassy fast enough, what happens when the air force and army can’t communicate with one another.

All those things are either part of our dialog or have been. They are also things that have now happened, but in 1988 were still future events.

In Warbots book 1 we are transported into a world where robots to the fighting through telekinetic links, and a new enemy shows us that these robots are not up to the task of fighting all enemies. In book 2 we learned that humans fighting next to robots isn’t going away. Thanks to the links possible at a distance between robots and humans women in combat units became commonplace. Robot operators are safe, they are way back behind the lines, well not anymore. Now they are side by side with the bots, including the women, and we find out that the women are every bit as capable as the men.

We even see hints of what happens when the men and women in the unit have…a relationship. Can combat unit integrity be maintained under such conditions?

Some people argue yes, some say no.

I hope you enjoy this installment into Warbots, I give you Warbots Book 3: The Bastaard Rebellion.

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Warbots Book 2 – Operation Steel Band

In this second installment of Warbots, G. Harry Stine takes us deeper into his vision of mixed robot human warfare. In all honesty, it isn’t that far off from what we see today. At the time no one would have considered it possible, but today we take some of what he showed us for granted, and we might not be surprised to see the capabilities in this book on the battlefield the next time our military has to go someplace and fight.

The mark of a great fiction writer, especially science fiction, is that he makes us think. In this book he takes us into that same battlefield, with some upgraded Warbots sporting some new Artificial Intelligence, but he brings in a new topic for us to think about. Women on the battlefield.

In Warbots book 1 we are transported into a world where robots do the fighting through telekinetic links, and a new enemy shows us that these robots are not up to the task of fighting all enemies. As a result, humans must fight side by side with their warbots in order to accomplish the mission. Because of the fact that prior to this no humans had been on the battlefield, over time women in combat units had become the norm. Robot operators are safe, they are way back behind the lines, well not anymore. Now they are side by side with the bots, including the women.

It dives deep through a page-turning adventure story into this philosophical topic. Can we tolerate women taking a round in the same way we mentally cope with it when this happens to a man.

This time there is more than one injury to the faithful robot operators who had to quickly turn back into infantry troops of old. They discover that bullets don’t care about gender, they impact everyone the same.

He shows us that the women can be as tough as the men, and in his fictional world they fight side by side and, yes, there is some concern, but the women have more than a few things to say about potentially being removed from these roles.

I hope you enjoy this installment into Warbots, I give you Warbots Book 2: Operation Steel Band.

Into a world on the brink of chaos comes a bold new breed of warrior!

Part-human, part-machine, they are the WARBOTS. America’s awesome first line of defense in a volatile future. Indestructible armored giants with computer minds inseparably linked to the brainwaves of their human masters. They bring an explosive new brand of technology warfare to the deadly battlefields of the 21st century!

With the help of a treacherous alliance of left-wing South American states, renegade U.S. Army officer Austin Drake has seized control of the island of Trinidad and its vast petroleum resources. And as Drake’s engineers begin construction on an ultra-modern space weapons launching facility, Captain Curt Carson’s Robot Infantry springs into action. Battling hostile terrain and corrosive environmental conditions, only the Warbots can halt a madman’s deadly power-play as they race against time to obliterate a terrifying threat to global security that looms on America’s doorstep.

You can find this book on Amazon today.

 

 

Warbots Volume 1 of 12

I first discovered the Warbots series in 1988 when there were only two books on the market. The world has become a place where the United States fights its war with robots on the battlefield instead of humans. These warbots are completely controlled by humans, but they never ever miss and have made combat relatively risk free.
The series follows Curt Carson and his soldiers into a world where the military discovers that you can’t win every fight with just bots on the battlefield. They can’t do everything a human can, so…the US Army gets thrown back on the battlefield with humans at risk once again.

As someone who would eventually become a physicist, I have always intrigued by topics such as this, even when presented fictionally. I thought long and hard about it the contents of the series. At the time it seemed like it was impossible. I mean robots doing our fighting for us? Nevertheless, G. Harry Stine hooked me in and made me surrender to each of the twelve books that would ultimately make up the series.

He did it by bringing to light in a page-turner kind of way several topics we now take for granted.

Would the military ever really allow itself to become dependent upon robots? I thought it would never happen. Robots were simple things at this point in time, banks still had tellers, and we all used dial up internet – if we used internet at all.

Artificial Intelligence was not a new topic, but mostly it was something we saw in movies, and used to scare us. The Hal-9000 decided that it knew best, Terminators came back in time to kill, and our imaginations ran wild.

That was then.

This is now.

We do indeed depend upon robots, only we call them drones.

Some of them are even armed.

There is even a murmur of a human (at least for Americans) free battlefield.

Would it surprise you to learn that the drones flying around the Middle East today are flown by pilots near Las Vegas? It is true.

Would it surprise you to learn that object recognition, and facial recognition are now common commodity items for the AI community? Probably not. Those technologies are now off the shelf and used on our mobile phones to check our bank balance.

When these books were written they were speculative, but dang if G. Harry Stine didn’t get close to what is going on now, thirty years later.

But wait, there’s more!

What about these Middle East terrorists who were dumb enough to take on a massively superior military? Surely no one would be that dumb, using weapons so many generations behind those of the United States that they couldn’t possibly win a war. Or would they?

Yes, he got that one right also. He gave us a fictional version of something close to what we see today. In my opinion he’s still half a generation in front of where we are now, and in time he may be proven absolutely correct. Only time will tell.

I wanted to read these books again as a potential influence for some of my own fiction writing, and when I found out I couldn’t get new copies of these books (as mine were long gone) I was upset. I wanted to read them again. I poured into my favorite used book websites and found they were actually even hard to find there. So, I went on a quest. To find out who had the rights. It took a bit of work, but I found it. Bill Stine, the son of G. Harry, who has followed his father into the model rocketry world, was the answer, and thankfully supportive.

I am proud to be part of getting these books back out on the market, and I want to thank Bill Stine for allowing it.

I think the contents of these books will stick in reader’s brains and if they don’t they will certainly make you think. I hope you enjoy them as much today as I did 30 years ago.

Protests versus reality

In the last few weeks we have seen protests, counter protests, statements about protests, and enough anger to make Happy Gilmore seem calm.

It isn’t just about race, or the economy, or about the virus or being trapped at home. It’s about the stresses of all these at the same time.

People have lost their ability to make a living, some lost life savings as their family business folds, some have lost their lives. And what we get from politicians is confusing at best and anger directed at those they claim to represent at worst.

Now. What are we supposed to do about it?

I’d like a solution as much as anyone. For now, as we go into the weekend, I hope no one else is killed or injured. I hope cooler heads prevail.

More importantly I hope we all realize their are humans on both sides of this and humans make mistake. Now is the time to take a deep breath, find out what we want and how to get there as a peaceful nation.

Warbots Volume 1 by G Harry Stine

I first discovered the Warbots series in 1988 when there were only two books on the market. As someone who would eventually become a physicist my brain has always intrigued by topics such as the ones in this book series, even when presented fictionally. When I first read the series I thought long and hard about it the concepts involved. At the time everything in it seemed like it was technologically impossible. Nevertheless, G. Harry Stine hooked me in and made me surrender to each of the twelve books that would ultimately make up the series.

WARBOTS_01_Final

He did it by bringing to light, in a page-turner kind of way several topics we now either take for granted, or still debate.

Would the military ever really allow itself to become dependent upon robots for conducting combat operations?

At the time I thought it would never happen. Robots were simple things at this point in time, banks still had tellers, and we all used dial up internet (usually from AOL) – if we used internet at all.

Artificial Intelligence was not a new topic, but mostly it was something we saw in movies, and used to scare us. The Hal-9000 decided that it knew best, Terminators came back in time to kill, and our imaginations ran wild.

That was then.

This is now.

Our military does indeed depend upon robots, only we call them drones.

Some of them are even armed.

There is even a murmur of a human (at least for Americans) free battlefield. Although we don’t mind using our robots (errr drones) to kill humans while our humans are safely thousands of miles away.

Would it surprise you to learn that the drones flying around the Middle East today are flown by pilots near Las Vegas?

It is true.

Would it surprise you to learn that object recognition, and facial recognition are now common commodity items for the AI community? Probably not. Those technologies are now off the shelf. I used one a few minutes ago to check my bank balance.

When these books were written they were speculative, but dang if G. Harry Stine didn’t get close to what is going on now, thirty years later.

But wait, there’s more!

What about these Middle East terrorists who were dumb enough to take on a massively superior military? Surely, we thought in 1988, no one would be that dumb, using weapons so many generations behind those of the United States that they couldn’t possibly win a war. Or would they?

Yes, he got that one right also. He gave us a fictional version of something close to what we see today. In my opinion he’s still half a generation in front of the problems we are facing now, and in time he may be proven absolutely correct.

He even brought the topic of women in combat up. It was a theme in the book. Guess what? When women were put into a combat situation they did as well as the men. Better in some cases.

I know someone, somewhere out there is going to say yeah but what if they have to lift xxx lbs…Well guess what, if you have a robot next to you that does the heavy lifting (even for the men) who cares. I dare you at this point to go see Boston Robotics website and see how close that actually is.

Anyway, back to my point.

A few years ago I wanted to read these books again as a potential influence for some of my own writing, and when I found out I couldn’t get new copies of these books (as my copies were long gone) and I was upset.

I wanted to read them again. I poured into my favorite used book websites and found they were actually even hard to find there. So, I went on a quest. To find out who had the rights. It took a bit of work, but I found it. Bill Stine, the son of G. Harry, who has followed his father into the model rocketry world, was the answer, and thankfully supportive.

I am proud to be part of getting these books back out on the market, and I want to thank Bill Stine for allowing it.

I think the contents of these books will stick in reader’s brains and if they don’t they will certainly make you think. I hope you enjoy them as much today as I did 30 years ago.

The first few are now back out on the market after much hard work, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Warbots book 1 can be found on Amazon in Print, Kindle and Audible formats.

Why do football players play through the injuries?

I must confess I never played organized football. I am a fan of the sport, a good friend of mine is a former NFL player, I wrote a book on the challenges the sport faces with respect to concussions but I never played organized ball.

I have always wondered, and asked a few former professional players why play injured? Doesn’t that run the risk of making the injury worse?QB Hit

Well, in previous eras of the sport contracts were largely incentive based. Basically, the contract that defined a players salary (and I am exaggerating) would say, “Ok, here’s $20. Now when you get these stats you get an additional $100,000, then when you have this many tackles you get an additional $250,000.” 

That isn’t the game of today. More and more salaries are some large up front chunk with salaries based on just being on the team and doing what the coach says (ok it isn’t that simple, I know but bear with me).

Why, in the modern sport, would someone hide a concussion? I think it is more than money.

First, to a man, all of the former players I have met are very driven, highly competitive individuals. But it is, I think, even more than that.

Why do I say that?

Many High School and NCAA players also don’t want an injury (not just head injury, almost any kind) reported if they don’t absolutely have to report it.

Think about what these guys do to get ready. At most in a season a player gets to play something like 20 games…and that is at the NFL level if you throw in pre-season and they make the playoffs. NCAA and High School it is even fewer.

These guys train for 9 months of the year for a 3 month season to go out and actually play the game at most 20 times. Well shoot if I was playing, and put in that kind of work, and had a chance to play in front of a crowd that few times. I’d want to stay in the game as well.

The science fiction writers that crafted our world

When I was a kid, I read more than many of my friends. Sure, I played baseball and soccer, but I was what would have been called a bookworm. Many of the books on my list were science fiction. You name it, I read it. Many I just wandered in and found on my dad’s bookshelf, that led me to the library and the rest is now dusty book memory.

When I was determining what my ultimate career path would be I was drawn to writing, but I was more drawn to science and engineering, and I ultimately chose that career path earning a PhD in Physics.

So, how do I think Science Fiction writers showed us the world we live in?

Many of the things we take for granted today were first put into our mind’s in those fiction “stories” of the past.

Cell phones of the flip variety came from Star Trek.

iPad or similar device first appeared on Star Trek the Next Generation (Thank you Captain Picard and welcome back).

Robots as elements in battle (war robots) came from G. Harry Stine in his series Warbots. He also pointed out a lot of political arguments we would have in the future that might result in military action and dang if he wasn’t right on the money. Everything from women in combat to United States border issues.

Warbots Book 4 kindle cover

The point is that as we enter an era where people read less and less and focus on super hero movies and the latest binge worthy TV show I think we miss that inspiration that can be found in these sci fi stories. Most of what we see today is some dystopian future where everyone has died and we need to have a reality TV show where people hunt other people (Hunger Games) to keep us looking to the future.

What does this say about where we are going?

In my work as a writer I try to focus on some of these older topics. How technology will take us places and perhaps lead to a better world. I have even been working on putting out of print sci fi back into print. Finding the rights and prepping them for modern publishing. It is an interesting shift to a scientific career, but one I think will build a better future, and isn’t that what scientists are supposed to do?

Athletic Safety and Artificial Intelligence

There can be no doubt that competitive sports are part of our worldwide culture. The international Olympics are one of those things that all nations seem to agree bring us together. Kids from the youngest age play and compete in athletic events.

Two little kids boys, best friends in autumn forest. Older brother helping younger child to put his bike helmet. Happy siblings with bicycles.

The one thing I try to remind my kids of is to be safe. I also don’t want to just be that parent that gives it lip service and yells “be safe” as they head out the door. I want them to know what it takes to be safe.

Not being an athlete myself (although being an enthusiast) I try to teach them what can be done. The first is, even if you are specifically focused on one sport like baseball, soccer, or football, is to realize that safety goes far beyond just the various bits of safety gear we buy.

Safety is also conditioning. You have to condition your body. That doesn’t mean just play your sport. You have to condition yourself to that sport. So, what the heck does that mean.

Exercise. Specifically targeted exercises to prepare your body to complete are necessary. That doesn’t mean just run, just lift weights. You have to condition your entire body from head to toe. This includes stretch, cardio, yes, strength training and also playing your sport.

The most important thing before doing any of these things is stretching. You need your body to be ready to do what you are about to ask it to do. Get “warmed up.” These aren’t just words to throw out this is an action to be taken and not something I see enough people doing. Especially kids. They just want to get on the field, get to it, have some fun.

I have mine start every sporting event (soccer, baseball) with some stretching. I’m not sure it makes them better athletes but none of them have been hurt on the field (yet).

I know I’m rambling a little, but this is the start of a discussion and an idea nugget I’m working on. There are lots of smart watches and wearables on the market to monitor heart rate and other physiological data. There is also a growing number of Artificial Intelligence Apps on the market. There is a thought gestating (ok something I’m actively working) to combine the data from these various new technologies into useable data that even an amateur can improve performance with.

We live in exciting times and I really think that AI technology will push athletes further and faster than ever before possible. Can you imagine a wearable device (or perhaps a smartphone app) that tells you when you have optimally warmed up? I can see it. I also think that we can help improve safety through technology, and that means technology that goes far beyond padding.

I think, as a parent, I would appreciate such technology as something that would help me feel that my kids were about to compete and do so with a lower chance of injury.

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL!?!?!?

With the upcoming football season upon us there are about to be a ton of articles about who will dominate, which team is going to go all the way, and how various contract negotiations are going to go all long before they happen. I want to go another way.

dick-plasman-nfl-no-helmet-football-player

I want to sit back and enjoy the game. I don’t want to think about what happens next, what happens at the end of 16 weeks…I’m going to sit back and let it evolve. Go week by week with anticipation and excitement building. I’m not going to think about the Superbowl until playoff season is upon us (even if Tom Brady is coming back, we won’t refer to it as the annual Patriots end of season invitational).

I’m going to do one thing differently than I have ever done, while I am reliving the football of my youth (when I didn’t understand what contracts were). One thing I could have never done as a kid.

I’m focused on coaching staffs. Football is a team sport, driven by leaders. There are on field and off field leaders. I’m looking for the team that can become this generations version of America’s Team (Cowboys when Roger Staubach was the on field leader).

I’m looking for the coach that will lead, not the contracts, not the huge dollars. I’m looking for leaders.

From the player side I want to see who is the leader. Not the highest paid, who is going to lead. Who will go on the field and be the guy, then who will come off the field and lead publicly. As a kid I saw some of these guys as American Superstars. The embodiment of what we could be as a country (Yes, I know the military can give you that and I did serve my time in uniform, but it isn’t as much fun as football.)

In other words, I’m looking for the next Roger Staubach. The guy who we can all see as the embodiment of what America can produce due to their on field and off field leadership capabilities. When that person becomes known, we will see the dominant franchise for the next generation.