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Radio show date 02-25-2022


John C. Morley: (00:08)

Hi everyone. I'm John C. Morley, The host of the JMOR Tech Talk Show and inspirations for your life.


John C. Morley: (00:58)

Well, hi everyone and welcome once again to another amazingly interesting and educational episode of the JMOR Tech Talk Show. Tonight, February 25th I am pleased to have on a second time, which is Lieutenant retired Colonel Wayne Phelps, and will be talking more about his pretty amazing book, "On Killing Remotely, the psychology of killing with drones." If you haven't picked it up, maybe you'll want to do that after the program or you could order it right online. When we talk about technology, as we said, the air force, the Marines, and the navy they're pretty top of the game because they're always getting things that we have, but they're always about five to seven years ahead of us before it becomes into like regular stuff for us to be able to purchase. Well, when we think about these different things there is a lot of stuff that they're working on.


John C. Morley: (02:05)

One thing right now is the Hydromea's wireless ROV FPSO. What the heck is that? So Hydromea's wireless ROV is a remotely operated vehicle. FPSO is the floating production storage and offloading and then when we put it all together, it's the Hydromea's wireless remotely operated vehicle, floating production storage, and offloading Ballas water tank. This is cool. A tank that they started working on, I don't know how long ago, but just to look at the picture of this thing. Switzerland's base subsea wireless access provider Hydromea has said and I quote, "It has recently successfully trialed x-ray its wireless underwater ROV system in a full Ballas water tank of the total energies north sea. So the x-ray was created to collect visual inspection data, validating systems, etc including wireless navigation and wireless communication."


John C. Morley: (03:23)

So according to Hydromea, the pilot was able to command and control the vehicle and receive real-time 1080 P video feedback using, of course, proprietary wireless optical sensor communication technology, and that replaced the cable connection that they used to have a while back, lots of limitations with cables, right? So without having any type of binding or a tether, the challenge of being entangled became eliminated and allowed this device to go into even greater areas to gather more information. When we think about this device, right now, it's being used for surveillance and gathering information, right? I wouldn't be a bit surprised if we saw this having weaponry on it. So just like we think about drones, which we'll be talking about in a little bit with our guests, this is kind of a new type of drone and it's in the water.


John C. Morley: (04:36)

So a drone doesn't necessarily have to be in the air. It could be on wheels or could be in the water and who knows they might even come up with drones that will be able to go just like in the cartoons, from land to water then back on land, and then maybe even fly, which would take the ability of the drone but do this kind of as need base so they could stay still and be able to get as close to its target as it needed to. So they could get the information that it needs or if it needed to eliminate that target almost without notice. So I think there's a lot that's going to be coming up the pipe, so we'll keep our eyes peeled on that. Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me extreme pleasure to welcome you to the JMOR Tech Talk Show.


John C. Morley: (05:37)

A gentleman that was on here just last week, giving us some real insights and somebody who was in the Marines himself and being able to learn what it is that he is sharing with us about different types of drones, the different robots, and how they're killing people. And tonight we're going to get a little deeper because we're going to cover some things that we didn't have a chance to cover last time, which is more about the psychology of killing. And so what is it like when you kill, do people get any type of reactions? Do people miss on purpose? I know a lot of people have asked that question, so I'm going to be asking him where are we headed? What can you share with us about what's coming up in the future again?


John C. Morley: (06:35)

Let's welcome to the JMOR Tech Talk stage, Mr. Lieutenant retired, Colonel Wayne Phelps. Well, hi everyone. It is John C. Morley Entrepreneur here and welcomes once again another great addition to the JMOR Tech Talk Show. If you guys remember last week and if you missed it, you missed a great show but don't, you could go to our website and you could watch the entire thing as many times as you want because there is a lot of information. I guarantee you will not remember everything the first time you watch it, at least five or 10 times, and then you'll get some of it. I am here again and very honored to be with Lieutenant Colonel retired, Wayne Phelps, to talk to us more about this exciting book which is, "On Killing Remotely, the psychology of killing with drones." And when we left off last time we were talking about who is affected and to go into that a little bit deeper, I have some more questions but before I do we had several people that emailed us and messaged us and said, what the heck is the hellfire missile?


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (07:48)

Well, John, thanks for having me back again. So hellfire missile started as an anti-tank missile that was fired from attack helicopters, like the Apache and then they modified it to go on the predator drone. So it's a laser-guided missile and that just means that it follows a laser spot where you have a laser pointer that points at a target. It follows that spot down to the target.


John C. Morley: (08:25)

So you're not going to be able to avoid that. Are you?


John C. Morley: (08:30)

Probably not.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (08:31)

Well, it's harder to hit moving targets that's for sure because you get to keep the laser spot on the moving target.


John C. Morley: (08:37)

So when they track it if tracking enabled automatically, is it very similar to what was that science, the one they had the professor and they decided to retaliate against him. So they decided to put I think it was un-pop popcorn, and then they took the laser that was supposed to be somewhere else from the military and they shined it at his window and the whole house just erupted with the popcorn.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (09:04)

I'm not familiar with that.


John C. Morley: (09:06)

It was called a weird science.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (09:08)

Oh, weird science.


John C. Morley: (09:09)

Yeah, one of the weird science and they had made the whole floor out of ice. They gasped the floor so you can ice skate but my point is that that was a tracking. Is that something that we have, or is that something that was kind of like not existing yet. They set that and literally it put the coordinates in and it automatically went to that target. Like they didn't have to do anything, they put the target in, and then they could just literally let their hands off. Is that how it works today or not quite that automated?


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (09:34)

Yeah. You know, I prefer not to talk about some of the capabilities that we have.


John C. Morley: (09:40)

So, okay. But it's interesting that they did that in that show, what they could do. It was meant to be funny but this was a science project and it became an amazing thing. So we talk about killing remotely, we talked about who is harmed but there's something else that comes out in your book and that is what are the two types of distances that affect how someone feels when they're killed. You talked about them in your book. If you could elaborate a little bit about them something that we wouldn't think about.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (10:18)

Yeah. So in, "On killing remotely", I built on Lieutenant Colonel, Dave Grossman's model that he used in, "On killing" and in fact, he helped to write this book. So he proposes that the response to killing is directly proportional to your distance from the victim, right? So further removed, you are, the less of an effect it's going to have on you and he takes it from bombers and artillery on one end into knife fighting and grenade range and things like that. He said, obviously the closer you are the more difficult it's going to be to kill, like the resistance to kill is there and then the more that it's going to affect you as well. So the first is physical distance.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (11:15)

And what I wanted to convey in this book was that physical distance is kind of irrelevant for the RPA crew because they're so far removed from the people that they're striking, that it doesn't make a difference, right? It's 7,000 miles. It's on the other side of the planet. Its physical distance to the target is irrelevant but what I wanted to bring home is the more important distance is their cognitive or their empathetic distance. And that's how close they feel to the target, right? The typically physical and cognitive distance were aligned with previous weapons systems, right? So if you're stabbing somebody your physical and cognitive distance is equivalent and that's true for most weapons systems up to the point where you get to a remotely piloted aircraft, where your physical distance is the other side of the planet and your cognitive distance is shrunken to be very intimate and very close. That's due to the nature of remotely piloted aircraft. They have a long loiter time, and they have a high-definition camera that you can zoom in and see all of the intimate details of a person, all of the things that make us recognize the humanity in a person. So those are the two distances that are kind of working against each other.


John C. Morley: (12:59)

And you refer to something interesting in your book, too. You talk about the level of closeness, which you're referring to now, there is one, that's an intimacy level of closeness and I remember you saying something in the book that when somebody's at that intimate almost will you be with your partner and you can feel their flesh and tell that they're not alive anymore. It has a big dramatic impact as opposed to if I was a hundred yards away from it. So there are a lot of factors that go into the distance I guess, and what I'll call our personal space.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (13:35)

Yeah, absolutely and it gets to the point of being able to see a Target's eyes and their face. It gives them agency, if you can remove that becomes easier. There's less resistance striking that kind of target.


John C. Morley: (13:56)

You make an interesting point in the book you say, are we at war? Give our viewers a little information about what that is because for us to be able to shoot certain things have to happen as you mentioned a little before but if they're not, then we're technically doing something illegal and that would be like assassination.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (14:20)

Yeah. So if we're striking a target with the military asset, then it has to be done under some sort of authorization for the use of military force. So I pose the question, are we at war? If we're only using drones to strike targets from thousands of miles away and there is not necessarily physical skin in the game, we're not putting troops in harm's way. Does that mean we're still at war? And are we going to fight a war this way in the future and does it make it easier for us to engage in conflicts when we don't have troops in harm's way? So I answer all of those questions in the book. Towards the first question, the authorization for the use of military force, we have expanded the two original authorizations for Iraq and Afghanistan to a point where we're fighting different enemies in different geographic locations under the same authorization. So I think we've exceeded our authorities there but legally we're technically still covered. So that's how you see strikes in countries like Syria, Libya, Somalia, things like that, right? So these strikes are covered under this broad umbrella.


John C. Morley: (15:56)

It's a lot to think about and there's another thing that caught my attention is that, and we're kind of alluding to it. We haven't talked about it. Now, We will. We say that when you don't see the person, it's easier for you to kill them, but the military and the Navy, the Marines, or all the government agencies that help with weaponry are actually instilling something inside the soldiers to be a soldier, but they're also instilling in them how to be dehumanized, which kind of was interesting. They even went as far as to take the target and have them hit something that looks real. Tell us a little more about that.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (16:41)

Yeah. So that's more of a reference to, "On killing" and the work that they did there too, where they looked at and some of those studies I believe, have been debunked that soldiers weren't willing to kill other enemy combatants in world war II. But one thing they tried to do was make targets, look more like a human silhouette and give them less time to fire on a rifle range, as opposed to slow fire. It's a rapid-fire at a human target. So you have all of these things that become muscle memory and its conditioning. So at the point of friction, you don't necessarily want warriors thinking too critically about the target other than, is it a legitimate target and should I shoot it? Right. So a lot of the conditioning we do gets them to that point. It's not the time for philosophical debates. You can't have an entire army on the battlefield that's reluctant to kill legitimate military targets.


John C. Morley: (17:59)

I'm not sure if this is something in common or not. Are they doing certain things now to figure out if the person that they're bringing into the military, Navy army Marines has not only the intelligence level, but they have that mental acuity that's going to be trainable? Some people are not trainable. I know with getting my degree as well, engineering and also hypnosis, some people are not trainable.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (18:26)

Yeah. I don't know that we have changed the way we recruit people based on their trainability and there is all kind of studies that are indicators of what success will be. One of the things that they have started doing for RPA cries in the entry-level training. They talk about the fact that there is a high likelihood in their occupation that they're going to have to take a human life in combat and if they're not okay with that, then they can put them in a different where they can just fly drones that are not armed, that is just used for surveillance and reconnaissance. So I think that that is a very important conversation that happened. It's happening early in the training and I think that's a good thing. Although no one knows how you're going to respond the first time you strike a target. If you're having those reservations before that even happens. I think it's good to put those people in a position where they're not going to be conducting those kinds of missions.


John C. Morley: (19:48)

I think that's great that our military, army, and Navy have the ability so that just because you're not able to do that or don't want to do that. I know when I was just about to graduate college I was offered a position and a friend of mine had a similar position they didn't give me a lot of the details that I went to the interview and they said to me John, this is such and such and he couldn't tell me where it was from. I said, "Well, what are we doing?" He said, "You're going to be doing robotics and engineering." I said this is great. I said, "Let me just put a caveat out there. I said, it probably doesn't matter to you but I just want to throw something out there. I don't know if you do any defense-type work or anything like that. I'm more than happy to help you with anything you need. Don't ever ask me to build hardware or software that is going to kill somebody."


John C. Morley: (20:44)

And after that, the guy went back to the chair. He had made me an offer and he says what if we increase the money? I said first of all you can't buy me. Second of all, I'm not going to do something that's going to override my morals and so I won't build something that can do that. Even if you tell me it has safeguards because we all know that you could take out stuff that I've designed to change logic and he said to me, "John, you're very bright." I said, yes and that's why I'm going to open my own company. So I think it's important to know what you want to do, what you can do, and what your limits are? Some people are okay with that. You know, a lot of people take the military and what they do somewhere to a video game and video games like oh, that's so cool. It's so cool but I don't think that's how the military and the Marines view it. How would you say they relate to that?


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (21:42)

So if there's one thing that people watching this, I want them to take away from this conversation is that we should never compare the taking of human life with a video game. It's absolutely serious business. It's done by professionals that are trained in the ethical distribution of controlled violence when it's authorized. Video games are fantasy. There are no ramifications of getting something wrong. So there are a lot of people that compare flying drones to playing a video game and it marginalizes the entire community. It's a horrible analogy and everybody in the community just hates it. So we get to stop doing it. When people can suffer PTSD from this kind of work that should tell you that it's serious business and we should stop comparing it to video games.


John C. Morley: (23:01)

I think where this comes from is the movie was a good movie war games.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (23:06)

Yeah, that's a good movie.


John C. Morley: (23:07)

For those of you who haven't watched it, definitely watch it. It's about this kid and his girlfriend and they get in on a line when dial-up was popular. And it gets into a line and they don't believe that he's doing it innocently, but he wasn't doing anything to harm the government, but they didn't believe that. And they got in and then when he tried to prove to them what was going on, they took more action against him. And so I think the biggest thing we can learn from this, like with that movie, when they took the Minuteman out of those silos and they put in basically automated systems so that when they made the decision and the computer decided to fire that missile, we don't have Minuteman anymore.


John C. Morley: (24:03)

So because of that missiles fire but that also means that if something is made wrong, then the missile is going to fire. Now, hopefully, we're not there yet. We have the technology that can do that. That movie opened a lot of people's eyes because we're annihilating a whole country, a whole world and then when they check, you're like, oh, it's just a simulation and that movie made a very compelling point. Sometimes the best way to win is not to play at all. And I think that movie drove on the point that that was a game but everyone acted like it was real life.


John C. Morley: (24:50)

So that should give us a good comparison. That video games are fantasy. Even when we get very pumped up the adrenaline. And I always say that technology can be used for good or can be used for bad. If it's being used for something that's going to harm someone or another, whether you know about it or don't know about it, that's an addiction. And that's something that should be stopped and that's someone that probably needs some help. So, I agree with Lieutenant Colonel, Phelps that we need to take games seriously. I think there should be a course at school. People probably think I'm crazy. There should be a course taught maybe in fifth grade or fourth grade about the difference between a video game and real life. So they understand that it's fantasy and they understand what real life is. I think it also goes back to something called real and pretends. And I know a lot of young kids struggle with this. They don't know what real and pretend are and it takes them a while before they can figure it out. They suddenly realize that reality is something that could hurt or harm them. Pretending is something that we just imagine that you're being destroyed. They also do something else which was interesting. They change the wording, don't they? They don't use the word kill.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (26:09)

Yeah. I talk extensively about all of the ways that we either overtly or covertly dehumanize targets to make it easier for people to overcome any sort of resistance and strike a target. So we very rarely use the term or the phrase kill that person, right there next to the tree, kill that person. It is said that you're cleared to strike the targets, 200 meters west of the tree, something like that. So we use these innocuous terms, these things that are dehumanizing to the point where the terms for strike instead of kill, we replace with a strike. The term for the person is a target or an objective name or you name it. So this is nothing unique to drones.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (27:15)

This is military-wide, we do this. So part of it is for brevity because we do a lot of over the radio and we have all these codes for brevity and it's just common language but I think part of it dehumanizes individuals and makes it easier for us to do our job, which involves killing sometimes. And that's the reality of the work that people in the military do sometimes we have to do that.


John C. Morley: (27:54)

It's not something that you're making a decision you want to do. It's part of your mission and you don't make those decisions but somebody higher up makes them. And then later on when you learn the rules but sometimes you can't always learn. If somebody is that bad guy, you just have to take their word for it and believe that they've got substantial evidence because sometimes you may not be cleared to know why that person's being taken out. It may not be part of your mission.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (28:20)

Yeah. Or sometimes you just have to trust that the person that is requesting for you to take action has already done their due diligence. Whether it's through intelligence or identification of a weapon or they've observed some sort of hostile intent or something like that. So oftentimes drone crew will respond to someone on the ground saying, I need you to strike this individual or this target and they will come in and they'll set up the mission with them and they will clear them hot to come in and strike that target. In that situation, the drone crew is trusting that individual on the ground has determined that it's a legitimate military target that minimizes their civilian casualties, all of those things, it's ethical and moral, all of those things that we talked about. So there's a lot of trust in everyone within the kill chain if you want to call it that.


John C. Morley: (29:23)

They even have in the HPT teams. We didn't talk too much about this but it's in your book. They have the medical people obviously but they also have clergy there and other psychologists there to help them cope and deal with things. and they're different than most people because they have to be okay with the killing, which is not something most priests and others can grapple with or got their hands around. So I think that must be hard for them too.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (29:53)

I don't know that. So it's a human performance team and I don't know that they have to be okay with the killing.


John C. Morley: (30:04)



Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (30:04)

But they have to help somebody get through a challenging situation. Whether it's through mental health help or religious help prayer. Finding something that grounds them and gets them back to a healthy state. So that's why they're there. They're not there to sanction killing or to bless it but they're there to help people that are going to struggle inevitably with some of the things that we as a country ask them to do on our behalf.


John C. Morley: (30:49)

So it's good to know that there are support systems in place to help them and they also have the same level of clearance because they're right in the thick of it, they're right in the mission with everybody. So that is very interesting also they have to have very trusted medical people and trusted priests and doctors and whatnot that are going to be able to operate an environment. I know a lot of doctors probably could not operate in that kind of environment. It's a very challenging situation.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (31:22)

Yeah but I also think it's very rewarding for them because of the help that they're providing. They're frontline care workers, they're the first people that somebody will talk to when something goes wrong, so they can have an immediate impact on somebody's life for the rest of their life. So they're doing meaningful work.


John C. Morley: (31:46)

I have two last questions for you. The first question I want to ask before I ask the last question is what inspired you to write this book. There are a lot of people that did not do what you did. What made you want to take this step and get this out there for us to read.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (32:09)

So I spoke the last let's see, the last six years of my career in the Marine Corps working with drones, and a lot of the things that I discussed in the book are talked about, it resulted in a lot of frustration and marginalization of a community and a community that was a little-understood but in high demand and then often shunned as well. So there are all kinds of challenges and then the further I dug into the topic, the more I started to realize that there are a ton of other challenges, psychological challenges, the long term health effects, the overworked and overstressed population of people, the retention of quality service members all of those things and I felt like we only hear one side of the story when it comes to drone crews and drone strikes.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (33:17)

And the only time about them is when something goes wrong. When we have a strike that kills civilians or things like that 99.9% of the time things go as planned and they're a non-issue and you don't hear about them in the news because of that. Right. Nobody's telling that story, that this is a professional group of people that are marginalized, they're treated as a suboptimal group within the military almost so I think that I wanted to be an advocate for and what inspired me to do that was the fact that I had sent several teams off to fight against a violent extremist organization using drones. And I wanted to know how it affected those people.


John C. Morley: (34:21)

And a lot of people in the military now are probably reading this book and hopefully soaking up the knowledge and maybe preparing a little more mentally for what to expect because there isn't a book to prepare you for what you do every day. Is there?


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (34:37)

No, there isn't but I think this is a good start if you're in this line of work. I was just down at the school in San Antonio where they train the entry-level drone pilots. I was just down there a couple of weeks ago, speaking at the graduation, and talking with them about some of the challenges they're going to face in their career and things like that. So a lot of them are already well aware of the book and have read it and if I can do anything to help people prepare for what they're encountering in their career and then help them for how to deal with what they've already done in their life moving forward I've received just countless messages, text emails, all kinds of things from people that said thanks for putting this into words, what I was feeling or what I couldn't explain but I think you've helped me to understand why I feel this way.


John C. Morley: (35:41)

So if you will be bringing together the troops, a bonding is what I see the book did it kind of got people on the same page maybe they were afraid to talk about it but now that it's imprinted they are like, "Oh yeah, I was feeling that too." And maybe it might let them be a little bit easier in their life and like, "Oh, I go through that too, when I go home." So I think definitely, it struck a chord but something else interesting before I ask you the very last question I had for you today, it was when I was actually in college and my freshman or sophomore year, I became a peer counselor, and I wanted to help people.


John C. Morley: (36:23)

I know people were taking their lives and things like that. It was my sophomore year and I became friends with this gentleman, his name was Craig, a very nice gentleman, probably about the same age as me and I met his parents. Nice people. He didn't have friends, a lot of people and he was pretty much a loner. He didn't talk to a lot of people and I was supposed to go visit him. When I was coming home one weekend and his parents were excited that I was coming over. He had never a friend. So it was a good thing and my train because I had to take the train from Hartford to New Haven. Well, my train was running behind. So guess what happened? I missed the connecting train from New Haven to get into New Jersey. It was not much I could do.


John C. Morley: (37:06)

So I took the next one. So that meant that I arrived an hour and a half late. I called him to let him know that I was running late. He didn't pick up the phone. Well, apparently when I got there, he wasn't there. So I didn't have anything. I called him, but nobody picked me up. I waited a while and nobody was there. I said, "I guess I should just go back home." I mean, it was like 20 minutes away. I should go home because I don't know anybody here. I don't know where he lives. I looked up his numbers. He was unlisted. His parents are at work. I don't know. I mean, it's like a needle in a haystack and I got home and at about 10 or 11 p.m., his parents called me and I said, "Hi, how are you?" Oh, John, not too good.


John C. Morley: (37:49)

And I said, what's the matter, it's Craig. I said, how's he feeling? Oh, he's not with us anymore. I said, my gosh, what happened? She said he passed away. I said, was he sick? No. So what happened? She said well, he took his life and I said can I ask why? Should you be supposed to come and visit him? I said, yeah, I was visiting him and I was there. He didn't pick me up. She says but you were supposed to be there at 1:30 and you didn't. You said you got there at 2:45. I said or 3 45. I said, yeah, because that happened with the train. She says, well, Craig had never got your message and he figured you had given up on him too and he figured his life wasn't worth living.


John C. Morley: (38:37)

I just didn't know what to say, what to do but it hits home with me because if people don't value life, there's one thing your book does it teaches people. That life is very precious and I don't think that was a concept. The main concept was you wanted to make people comfortable with they're okay to do what they're doing in their job but it gets people every day that are not in the military to say, Hey, you know what? Life is so precious. We need to be grateful for every day. We have every minute, every breath we take. And so that's really what I got when I hit one of your chapters, I'm like, "Oh my gosh, I'll think about Craig," and I was like, well, what could I have done? I couldn't have done anything. And I felt terrible.


John C. Morley: (39:19)

So I decided for a few years to become a peer counselor. So that hopefully that wouldn't happen to anybody and then I learned, he tried to take his life four times. This was the fifth time he was successful this time. This time he overdosed the other time he cut his wrists and I didn't even know this because he never shared this but his parents told me and they were too doctor. So you just never know. I think it's really important. I have a segment that I've done before. It's called what's on your mind.

John C. Morley: (39:46)

And I think it's really important, not just for laypeople but also for the military because I see a lot of people there that might not make it because of that going through. So I think it's important that they talk it out and they say, look, this is what's going on. You know, you're important, you're valued, you're a viable part of people in the community, and I think they need to know their support. I think that's important.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (40:07)

Wow. I mean that's such a powerful story, John.


John C. Morley: (40:14)

It hit home to me back to like your third chapter. That's not a story many people will tell you that they had somebody that died that took their life. Maybe they died for other reasons but that's just always going to sit with me. And I think what if we went there? What did we do? What movie we were going to do? What we were going to see? So you think what? But my last question on a lighter note is and I don't know if you're able to answer this. So where are we going? That you can share with us Lieutenant Colonel with, let's say automated robots. Are we becoming Terminator? Are we going to have autonomous robots, what can you share with us? What is the future? I mean technology every day and I tell people, if we're not careful, things can be done, it's just done we want to execute them?


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (41:02)

You know, I think that's a great segue into the next book I'm writing.


John C. Morley: (41:05)



Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (41:06)

I'm writing another book, currently about lethal autonomous weapons systems. So the convergence of AI robotics and autonomy into a single platform that senses the environment, picks its target and decides to engage the target all without a human in the loop or an input.


John C. Morley: (41:40)

It sounds a little scary.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (41:42)

It does sound scary but there are cases, there are reasons why we're moving in that direction. In some instances, we're already there today.


John C. Morley: (41:52)

Is it the human element? Is it because of the human element or is it because of time? May I ask why we're going this way? Is it time? Is it resources?


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (42:02)

It's time, it's machine speed vs human. It's being able to operate in a degraded communications, degraded environment where you can't communicate to a machine, but you don't want to put a person in harm's way, and if think about it from this perspective, if we can make self-driving cars safer than human-driven cars, do we have a moral imperative to only use self-driving cars.


John C. Morley: (42:42)

As long as a ransomware virus, there is some other fail-safe. So let's say that your autonomous weapon system defines this person. They're going to kill him. But let's say that there are three or four safeties, maybe five safeties. If one of those safeties has the slightest trip, the whole thing's disarmed. That's the way I see it because it can't just be one choice. There's got to be multiple validations, I'll call it and if all six of those are in a line, maybe it's 10, who knows, but if all 10 of them are in alignment, we know the probability of us being wrong is like 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1. And then that would say it makes sense, but it would never just be if we see to see that fire, it's got to have a lot more


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (43:41)

Yeah, absolutely and I'm not saying that those kinds of fail-safes won't be in there, but I'm saying if we get to the point where a machine or a robot can be more discerning in its targeting process and mitigate collateral damage. Do we have a moral imperative to allow the machine to do that? If it's within a time and place of our choosing when we're going after legitimate military targets. So those are the kind of questions I'm going to explore in the next book.


John C. Morley: (44:15)

When is your book going to relief?


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (44:17)

I get to write it first, man.


John C. Morley: (44:22)

Do you sound like the one I just started? So I just started writing my first book. It'll be out for about four months, but I just started a few months ago. So yeah, it's a process, but I said, I don't want to do it for over a year. So I started putting eight hours in every weekend. So otherwise, I'm never going to write it. Lieutenant Colonel Wayne Phelps it again was a privilege, a pleasure, and an honor, first of all, thank you very much for the book, "On killing remotely, the psychology of killing with drones." You're going to get an education and if you're in the military, you're in the army or the Marines, which hopefully you guys will be getting this from our press releases. You're going to want to pick this book up or if you have a loved one, that's there, pick this book up, maybe sign it with love and send it off to more. Your boyfriend, girlfriend. What have you sent it off to them? This is a book that's going to be a tool. It's not a book. It's a tool that you're going to integrate into your arsenal and I got to tell you something, no one can ever take this away from you. Once you store it up, here again, a very big privilege, and do keep us abreast when the next book comes out. We'll do you have a title for that book?


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (45:35)

I do but I'm not going to tell you I'm not going to share yet.


John C. Morley: (45:37)



Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (45:39)

Not yet.


John C. Morley: (45:41)

Okay. So what are you thinking about a year, six months?


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (45:45)

Probably at least 18 months before it's published.


John C. Morley: (45:49)

Okay. Well send it to us and I'm sure we'll need a little time to digest that one but I think it may be a little easier than this one because that one's going to talk more of the AI piece so that one, I probably can blow through a little quicker. But I wanted to get all the meaning out of the book because it's one thing to just read a book. But if you don't feel the book, why am I reading it? Why am I interviewing you if I don't want to get into your world? So that's what your book does. Your book gave me a chance to look through your window for a very specific period and just give me gratitude for all the things that our arm service people do for us every day.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (46:27)

Well, thank you, John. It's been a pleasure to be on your show. I appreciate you having me.


John C. Morley: (46:32)

It's been our pleasure. Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Lieutenant Colonel, retired Wayne Phelps. So if you want to catch our show, you can watch the replays. It was part one. This is a past two lots of great information, especially if you're looking to enlist in the military, the army, or the Marines, this might be a good book for you to read. If you're on the fence, is this something you want to get involved with? Great book. All right, ladies and gentlemen, we have some great stuff that we're going to be covering as we're continuing. When we get back next time about technology and yes. Where is AI going in the rest of our world, medical other places? So we will see you back in just a minute but again I want to thank you. I thank you again and get yourself a copy of this book.


John C. Morley: (47:18)

I think it's even on audio too, so you can download it. If you don't want to read it, you can have it audio but I think it means more when you can read it because you can get into it when it's audio. It's like your mind's just doing a hundred things. You're not feeling the book. So again, great book, everyone, a very meaningful book. I have not read a book like this in a long time that I literally could feel every word, and that's a real attribute to you, Lieutenant Colonel for amazing writing and a very good style, and a very good story that you've shared with America.


Lt. Col. (ret) Wayne Phelps: (47:51)

Thank you, sir.


John C. Morley: (47:53)

I appreciate it. You're welcome. Another amazing interview and again, my extreme thanks and gratitude for Mr. Lieutenant retired Colonel Wayne Phelps for coming on our show twice, there was just so much information in his book and you can't just read this in one night. There is so much in it. So when we think about a lot of quotes, he's brought us how he was able to talk about things like the high-performance teams and just getting into the heads of soldiers, even asking them when they join the air force, the Marines, or the Navy. Are you okay with killing someone? And I think that's the question that's very hard to ask, but if they answer, no then they deploy that person into another area or unit. It doesn't have to deal with daily killings.


John C. Morley: (49:00)

Really. We have a lot to be grateful for ladies and gentlemen. We have men and women every day that are protecting us so that we continue to have our freedom. And my hat goes off to Mr. Lieutenant retired Colonel Wayne Phelps for the many years, he has put in as well as all the other men and women that continue to serve, to fight for our freedom every day and all the challenges and the sacrifices they go through so we can keep our freedom. And also I want to thank him personally for taking the time to write this book and share a story that needed to be told, which no one ever wanted to communicate. Thank you very much. Lieutenant retired, Colonel Wayne Phelps, your book was truly amazing, like I mentioned to you, it was not easy to read. It was extremely emotional and it brought me right there. Like I was on the sidelines or even in battle, I felt like I was a soldier and that was a breathtaking feeling. It was a little scary but it was breathtaking how he just brought me right into the battlefield.


John C. Morley: (50:20)

When we think about drones, we think about whether they're on land, whether they're on sea or water, or whether we're thinking about robots. Many people are always saying, John, the robot has some impressive hardware but you know what? It's not the hardware that matters so much. Of course, it has to be good but what makes the robot perform the functions and be able to do the day-to-day activities that we need in our lives or they eating the military Navy army Marines or the air force is the specialty and acute level of software. That's programmed to handle situations, to know what to do such as tactical things, being able to gather data, and now using artificial intelligence in the cloud to be able to become smarter. So that robot that RPA UCA UCAV doesn't get itself into trouble because now it's learned. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I am John C. Morely, a serial entrepreneur.


John C. Morley: (51:38)

It's been a privilege, a pleasure, and an honor to be with you this evening. It is wonderful to be with you. And I thank Lieutenant Colonel retired, Wayne Colonel Phelps for, being a guest on our show, not once but twice. So if you have an interesting story about technology, definitely reach out to us, go to and let us know why you'd like to be on our show and what you'd like to share. If you have not already ladies and gentlemen, you'll see that a QR code at the top, right? Just take your phone, scan the QR code, and open that page on your mobile device. And you'll be directed right to my link tree. That's right. My link tree in case some of you don't have a mobile device, which, I gather that's very possible.


John C. Morley: (52:10)

So, you can just go to the link that's and you could check out some of the fascinating shows and other content that's produced by us every single week. Well, again, it's always a pleasure to be with you on the JMORE tech talk show. I hope you have a great rest of your night. I hope you have an amazing weekend. And if you have not already, go out and buy this book and plan to have it by your side for more than a few weeks because there's a lot in here to digest, take care of everyone, and be well.