International relations

From Bombs to Algorithms: Science, Technologies, and Global Insecurity

Module code: 016IRS
Level 6
30 credits in spring semester
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework, Essay

You will critically interrogate the entanglements of science and technology with war and security.

You will first learn about science and technology studies (STS) concepts, to understand the co-production of science, technology, security and war. You will also learn about social scientific tools to analyse the techno-security politics.

You will then focus on cases where these entanglements will be discussed with concrete examples, including:

  • the development nuclear weapons
  • the evolution of biological weapons and biological disarmament
  • the politics of dual-use research
  • artificial intelligence and imaginaries of “smart wars”
  • disinformation and democracy in cyberspace
  • big data
  • surveillance.

Module learning outcomes

  • Show coherent knowledge of different social scientific perspectives on studying the entanglements of science, technology, society, and security
  • Be able to critique the techno-determinism and techno-optimism present in academic, popular, and political discourse
  • Demonstrate understanding of how technology shapes and is shaped by international political developments and practices of war-making
  • Critically reflect on current controversies involving science, technology, and security