SPAH Seminar Series: Dr Emily Jones, University of Essex

A Posthuman Vision of Military Technologies: Drones, Autonomous Weapons and Human Enhancement Technologies

  • Thu 14 Feb 19

    16:00 - 17:30

  • Colchester Campus

    Ivor Crewe Seminar Room

  • Event speaker

    Dr Emily Jones, University of Essex

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    SPAH Seminar Series

  • Event organiser

    Philosophy and Art History, School of

  • Contact details

The Philosophy and Art History Seminar Series meets weekly in term on Thursday afternoons to discuss a paper by a visiting philosopher, art historian, or a member of our academic staff.

This week's speaker is Dr Emily Jones, University of Essex.

Emily is a feminist international legal theorist working from a critical posthuman perspective. Her current work focuses on: military technologies including autonomous weapons systems and human enhancement technologies, international legal personality, feminist and queer methodologies, the granting of legal personality to the environment and the interplay between capitalism, work, technology and the law.

In this paper I will analyse the humanism inherent in current debates around contemporary and emerging military technologies, proposing a critical posthuman understanding of these technologies as a means through which to better understand and regulate them. While contemporary and emerging technologies are currently defined in terms of how much the human is in control and while there is a vast panic over autonomous weapons systems, this focus will be problematised by noting how the human and the machine are already complicit in life/death decision making, drawing on examples of existing military technologies. I will then go on to outline how this posthuman cyborg configuration is only set to continue as paradigm in the realm of military technologies, noting the advancements made in human enhancement technologies in contrast to difficulty in developing fully autonomous weaponry. Thus, I will propose, there is a need to move away from a humanist ethics and understanding of these technologies, towards a posthuman vision. In line with this critical posthuman vision, I will conclude this paper in the search for alternative methods for dealing with the increase in machine-human life/death decision making in the current times, noting the limitations and potentials in existing frameworks, such as International Humanitarian Law and disarmament mechanisms, and the necessity of non-legal solutions.



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