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Elke Schwarz

7 Prescription drones Those who oppose violence with mere power will soon find that they are confronted not by men but by men's artifacts, whose inhumanity and destructive effectiveness increase in proportion to the distance separating the opponents. Hannah Arendt, On Violence (1970: 53) The previous two chapters have discussed the

in Death machines
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The ethics of violent technologies
Author: Elke Schwarz

As innovations in military technologies race toward ever-greater levels of automation and autonomy, debates over the ethics of violent technologies tread water. Discussions about whether lethal drones are the most moral and effective tools to combat terrorism, or whether killer robots could kill more ethically than humans, often end up conflating efficiency with morality and legality with ethicality. Such conceptual confusions raise urgent questions about what is at work in the relationship between lethal technologies, their uses, and the ethical justifications provided for technologised practices of political violence. What enables the framing of instruments for killing as inherently ethical? What socio-political rationale underpins these processes? And what kind of ethical framework for violence is produced in such a socio-political context? Death Machines reframes current debates on the ethics of technologised practices of violence, arguing that the way we conceive of the ethics of contemporary warfare is itself imbued with a set of bio-technological rationalities that work as limits. The task for critical thought must therefore be to unpack, engage, and challenge these limits. Drawing on the work of Hannah Arendt, the book offers a close reading of the technology-biopolitics-complex that informs and produces contemporary subjectivities, highlighting the perilous implications this has for how we think about the ethics of political violence, both now and in the future.

Open Access (free)
Four Decisive Challenges Confronting Humanitarian Innovation
Gerard Finnigan and Otto Farkas

developed specifically for application in humanitarian emergency responses, such as ICT, drones, remote sensing tools, data capture, near real-time processing, emergency communication and mapping, how many actually added ‘user’ value for the community ( Betts and Bloom, 2014 ; Ramalingam and Bound, 2016 ; Ramalingam et al. , 2009 )? This distinction between customer and beneficiary is not unique to the humanitarian sector. However, the difference in humanitarian assistance is that the

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Digital Bodies, Data and Gifts
Kristin Bergtora Sandvik

Introduction The much touted technologising of humanitarian space has brought many useful innovations. The use of cell-phones, satellites, drones, social-media platforms, digital cash and biometric technology has changed how things are done, the speed and cost of doing them and from where and by whom they can be done ( Sandvik, 2019 ). A central part of what these technologies accomplish is to generate data ( Burns, 2015 ; Crawford and Finn, 2015 ; Fast, 2017 ; Read et al

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Open Access (free)
Architecture, Building and Humanitarian Innovation
Tom Scott-Smith

–Security Nexus: Linking Cyber-Humanitarianism and Drone Warfare ’ in Jackson , P. (ed.), Handbook of International Security and Development ( Cheltenham : Edward Elgar ), pp. 80 – 94 . Duffield , M. ( 2019 ), Post-humanitarianism: Governing Precarity in the Digital World ( Cambridge

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
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The seen unseen of drone warfare
Tom Holert

101 Sensorship: the seen unseen of drone warfare Tom Holert Since the 1990s  –​with increasing frequency from the early 2010s  –​vision and other sensorial modes have been incorporated into intelligent and robotic systems, especially into a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), more commonly referred to as ‘drones’. As we witness the steady conversion of the heavens into ‘robotic skies’1 and the development of ‘recreational drones’ as popular consumer gadgets (Murphy 2014), assessing the impact of drone technology has become crucial for any understanding

in Image operations
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Visual media and political conflict
Editors: Jens Eder and Charlotte Klonk

Still and moving images are crucial factors in contemporary political conflicts. They not only have representational, expressive or illustrative functions, but also augment and create significant events. Beyond altering states of mind, they affect bodies, and often life or death is at stake. Various forms of image operations are currently performed in the contexts of war, insurgency and activism. Photographs, videos, interactive simulations and other kinds of images steer drones to their targets, train soldiers, terrorise the public, celebrate protest icons, uncover injustices, or call for help. They are often parts of complex agential networks and move across different media and cultural environments. This book is a pioneering interdisciplinary study of the role and function of images in political life. Balancing theoretical reflections with in-depth case studies, it brings together renowned scholars and activists from different fields to offer a multifaceted critical perspective on a crucial aspect of contemporary visual culture.

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Jonathan Benthall

This was published as a guest editorial in Anthropology Today , 29: 4, August 2013. An authoritative review of Akbar Ahmed’s The Thistle and the Drone was published by Malise Ruthven (Ruthven 2013b ). This book seems to me the finest of Akbar Ahmed’s many publications, blending a literary and religious sensibility with political and historical analysis, a

in Islamic charities and Islamic humanism in troubled times
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Looking to pastures new
Ben Lamb

eye over the present to ask searching questions of the future. In the face of greater competition from streaming services police series with the most successful viewing figures have marketed themselves as quality television. They feature high-profile actors, make use of high-definition cameras and aerial drone photography, and are narratively designed so that one complex investigation unfolds over six

in You’re nicked
Andy Birtwistle

sonic events occur in both space and time, the acoustics of the environment in which playback takes place also influences the specific signature of any reproduced sound. Microsound and the drone Having sketched some of the factors that contribute to a sounding of pastness, we must now consider the way in which the materiality of these sounds connects to a sense of the past, and how

in Cinesonica