Robot Wars: US Empire and geopolitics in the robotic age

Shaw, I. G.R. (2017) Robot Wars: US Empire and geopolitics in the robotic age. Security Dialogue, 48(5), pp. 451-470. (doi: 10.1177/0967010617713157)

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How will the robot age transform warfare? What geopolitical futures are being imagined by the US military? This article constructs a robotic futurology to examine these crucial questions. Its central concern is how robots – driven by leaps in artificial intelligence and swarming – are rewiring the spaces and logics of US empire, warfare, and geopolitics. The article begins by building a more-than-human geopolitics to de-center the role of humans in conflict and foreground a worldly understanding of robots. The article then analyzes the idea of US empire, before speculating upon how and why robots are materializing new forms of proxy war. A three-part examination of the shifting spaces of US empire then follows: (1) Swarm Wars explores the implications of miniaturized drone swarming; (2) Roboworld investigates how robots are changing US military basing strategy and producing new topological spaces of violence; and (3) The Autogenic Battle-Site reveals how autonomous robots will produce emergent, technologically event-ful sites of security and violence – revolutionizing the battlespace. The conclusion reflects on the rise of a robotic US empire and its consequences for democracy.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Shaw, Dr Ian
Authors: Shaw, I. G.R.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Journal Name:Security Dialogue
ISSN (Online):1460-3640
Published Online:31 August 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Author
First Published:First published in Security Dialogue 48(5):451-470
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
619181Drone Warfare: Towards a More-Than-Human GeopoliticsIan ShawEconomic & Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/K009087/1SCHOOL OF GEOGRAPHICAL & EARTH SCIENCES