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Artificial Security and the Politics of Hype in the EU

Friday, September 30, 2022, 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm


Hopes and fears have always shaped the socio-technical fabric around new technologies. There is no shortage of utopian and dystopian visions of artificial intelligence (AI) that are constantly being instrumentalized to create imaginaries of present and future worlds. A prevalent AI imaginary, that of the ‘thinking machine’, has painted robots in mystical techno-utopian hues, as electronic brains with anthropomorphic features and human-like consciousness. Countless speculations and shouted hyperbole about AI are also currently played against the backdrop of a global zero-sum power game.

Indeed, the rhetoric of a so-called new ‘arms race’ in complex emerging and disruptive technologies once again rules public and policy conversations and fuels Great Power competition. Today, as new ‘worlds’ and meanings are rapidly configuring themselves around ever ‘smarter’ (digital) technologies, an age of high-tech euphoria and techno-solutionism is emerging that is equally marked by instances of geopolitical doom-and-gloom. This mixture of rapid technological advancements and shifting geopolitical conditions could be interpreted as an important moment of emergence and fluidity. It is equally characterized by power struggles over capturing governance agendas and collective imaginaries of technological development and social order.

The talk will focus on the ongoing Palgrave Macmillan book project titled ‘Artificial Security and the Politics of Hype in the EU’. Emphasis will be given to the nexus between (military) AI and the European Union’s (EU) security and defence institutional architecture.

The book is designed as a conceptual and empirical intervention that explores the governance processes, socio-technical imaginary-building practices and the politics of hype surrounding AI-powered technologies in the EU. The book considers the discursive dynamics surrounding AI systems by revisiting the critical scholarship of philosopher Günther Anders and the conceptual insights of Sheila Jasanoff on socio-technical imaginaries to foreground the discussion on technological hype.

Read through Anders and Jasanoff, the current performative debates in the EU about AI and other ‘smart’ technologies, as well as the push for the research, innovation, and deployment of AI-enabled emerging and disruptive technologies in security and defence, reveal themselves as imaginative frames of reference and sense-making. They define the boundaries of what is (un)acceptable and (un)desirable in the creation of collective socio-technical realities in the fields of security and defence

Short Bio:

Dr. Raluca Csernatoni is a research fellow at Carnegie Europe in Brussels, where she specializes on European security and defence, with a focus on emerging and disruptive technologies. She is also a team leader on new technologies for the EU Cyber Direct - EU Cyber Diplomacy Initiative project. Csernatoni is currently a guest professor on European security, as well as a senior expert on digital governance and emerging technologies with the Brussels School of Governance and its Centre for Security, Diplomacy and Strategy, at Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium. She is also lecturing on technology, security, and high-tech warfare at the Department of International Relations of Central European University in Vienna, and is an associate research expert on PeaceTech with the Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Austria. 

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Meeting ID: 950 7372 7560
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