Ever since COVID-19 turned the world upside down, there has been a rush to find innovative ways to cope with this strange new environment. Alongside the vaccine race, numerous ingenious, life-saving, and sometimes outright strange products have been hitting the market in an effort to outsmart 2020's biggest adversary. Many have likened this coronavirus-induced innovation to the technological advancements during the Second World War - everything from rocket technology to superglue came about as a result of wartime imaginations.This precedent has given Peter Beech, writing for the World Economic Forum, an optimistic "glimmer of light" as the world continues to battle both the virus and its related afflictions of fear and uncertainty.
Yet, could these technological developments encourage a less public-spirited creativity? As the presence of automation, surveillance, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and robotics become a naturalised part of our socially-distanced lives, concerns loom about the future of privacy, as well as the possibility of hostile actors taking advantage of this moment to initiate cyber attacks or consolidate lethal autonomous weapons. News of Russian disinformation campaigns aimed at "aggravating" the public health crisis in the West comes as the UK publishes its long awaited report into Russian interference into British domestic politics. The question is now, then, how do we innovate against adversity in the era of digitalisation whilst still holding on to peace, security, and our democratic freedoms?
Inspired by this thought, this month's newsletter is themed around war and technology. We are lucky to have a wide range of scholars amongst our membership who are far better placed than I to confront these concerns, and we were delighted (once again) with your engagement during our recent Twitter hour on this topic. Nonetheless, whatever your field, innovation is at the forefront of everyone's minds as both research and leisure plans are disrupted by the pandemic. With our Twitter hours and webinars, online courses and conversations, we at the DRN are committed to digitising as much as possible to make this unusual period a little easier for you all.
See the full newsletter: War and Technology
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