Considering the fetish value of EOD robots How robots save lives and sell war

This article explores how the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) robot is represented to the mass media by the US military as a ‘life-saving device’. Such descriptions of the EOD robot discursively organize it in relation to other objects and actors, endow them with values and capacities, and ultimately situate them in social action. Drawing from…

Killer Robots as cultural techniques

In October 2012 a group of non-governmental organizations formed a Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. The aim of this campaign was to preemptively ban fully autonomous weapons capable of selecting and engaging targets without human intervention. The campaign gained momentum swiftly, leading to different legal and political discussions and decision-makings. In this article, we use…

Predicting push-button warfare: US print media and conflict from a distance, 1945-2010

In the more than 50 years following World War II, the concept of ‘push-button warfare’ has continually metamorphosed in media discourses as a symbol of technological warfare from a distance. This rhetorical transformation has occurred within the context of complex social, cultural and historical shifts, and along the way news sources have played a key…

From Killer Machines to Doctrines and Swarms, or Why Ethics of Military Robotics Is not (Necessarily) About Robots

Ethical reflections on military robotics can be enriched by a better understanding of the nature and role of these technologies and by putting robotics into context in various ways. Discussing a range of ethical questions, this paper challenges the prevalent assumptions that military robotics is about military technology as a mere means to an end,…

Twenty Seconds to Comply: Autonomous Weapon Systems and the Recognition of Surrender

The United States Department of Defense defines autonomous weapons as weapon systems that, once activated, can select and engage targets without further intervention by a human operator. Autonomous weapon systems are widely predicted to be the future of war fighting, at least in the armed forces of highly industrialized nations. Consequently, there is now a…

From Killer Machines to Doctrines and Swarms, or Why Ethics of Military Robotics Is Not (Necessarily) About Robots

Ethical reflections on military robotics can be enriched by a better understanding of the nature and role of these technologies and by putting robotics into context in various ways. Discussing a range of ethical questions, this paper challenges the prevalent assumptions that military robotics is about military technology as a mere means to an end,…