Killer Apps: War, Media, Machine (Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, 2020. Introduction now available here).
From the jacket: In Killer Apps Jeremy Packer and Joshua Reeves provide a detailed account of the rise of automation in warfare, showing how media systems are central to building weapons systems with artificial intelligence in order to more efficiently select and eliminate military targets. Drawing on the insights of a wide range of political and media theorists, Packer and Reeves develop a new theory for understanding how the intersection of media and military strategy drives today's AI arms race. They address the use of media to search for enemies in their analyses of the history of automated radar systems, the search for extraterrestrial life, and the development of military climate science, which treats the changing earth as an enemy. As the authors demonstrate, contemporary military strategy demands perfect communication in an evolving battlespace that is increasingly inhospitable to human frailties, necessitating humans' replacement by advanced robotics, machine intelligence, and media systems.
“In this crucial new book, Jeremy Packer and Joshua Reeves offer a provocative, media-centric analysis of automated killing machines. Engaging with an armada of flying sensors, robotic submarines, and AI weapons already in use, they show that big data, computer vision, and super intelligence emerge not just to order and organize the battlefield, but to produce new enemies. Clever and incisive, the book provides a haunting look at warfare of the near future.”
— Lisa Parks, Professor of Comparative Media Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and coeditor of Life in the Age of Drone Warfare
“This is an excellent book: well designed, thoroughly engaging, informative and, unfortunately, extremely topical and timely. The authors have gone to great lengths to make Killer Apps relentlessly up to date, providing readers with the latest in weapons developments, including AI drones and ‘swarmanoid’ robotics. With its impressive grounding in theory and hardware, it will become the go-to book for critical understandings of the intersection of warfare, media, and enmity.” — Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, Professor of German, University of British Columbia and author of Kittler and the Media
"The media we have inherited from our forebears--both human and machine--incarcerates us in an episteme in which the prospects of a peaceful existence is itself increasingly subject to automated annihilation. At a minimum, we should reflect on the incongruity that thinking of strategic futures might preclude the very possibility of being human. If it does preclude the possibility, what does winning mean? . . . . Without doubt, critics will complain of the dearth of solutions offered. Misanthropes will relish the dystopian tones. But these types of responses suffer precisely the anthropocentric orientation to which Packer and Reeves are taking an ax, and for that their contribution is invaluable. They force readers to transcend the humanist epistemological orientation in order to understand what the machine age has truly ushered in."
— Zac Rogers, Research Lead, Jeff Bleich Centre for the US Alliance in Digital Technology, Security and Governance, Flinders University, South Australia