I would like to convince you of two things. The first is that robotics will follow computers and the Internet as the next transformative technology.1 The second is that, for the first time in recent memory, the United States runs the risk of being left behind. I explain why we lawyers are to blame, and offer a modest, non-Shakespearean solution.
As William Gibson once said: “The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.” Transformative technologies have their early adopters. One is the military. The United States military was among the first organizations to use computers. It also created the ARPAnet, the Internet’s precursor. Today, the military makes widespread use of robots, as Peter Singer catalogs exhaustively in his 2009 book, Wired for War. The numbers are incredible; Air Force drones recently reached a million combat hours.