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CISA Inaugural Lecture: "War - The Coming of the Machines"

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At the height of the insurgency in Iraq the US deployed 5,000 robots. In the last 5 years UAVs or drones have taken out 75% of al-Qaeda’s middle to upper managers. US scientists are now working on designs that will give the next generation of robots a ‘consience’ – a set of moral algorithms similar to the set of moral heuristics programmed into us by natural selection which we call a conscience

Robotics will transform the face of war hollowing out its  existenial core Рthe need for courage, risk taking and sacrifice and reducing significantly the human dimension of decision making.

The question we might ask ourselves is not the familar one – do we still need war but a very unfamiliar and possibly more disturbing one - how long will war continue to need us?

Christopher Coker is Professor of International Relations at the LSE Department of International Relations. He is interested in, among other topics, British foreign policy and British defence policy. He has previously published:

Coker, Christopher (2010) Barbarous philosophers: reflections on the nature of war from Heraclitus to Heisenberg. Hurst & Co., London, UK. ISBN 9781849040891 2007

Coker, Christopher (2007) The warrior ethos : military culture and the war on terror. Routledge, London. ISBN 9780415424523 2004

Coker, Christopher (2004) The future of war: the re-enchantment of war in the twenty first Century. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK. ISBN 1405120428

This talk is part of the CISA Talks - Cambridge International Studies Association series.

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