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Accepted Paper:

Contested imaginary of AI and the techno-politics of cybersecurity  
Lilly Muller (Cornell University)

Short abstract:

This paper critically examines the UK governments use of the imaginary of AI in its effort to position itself in what it sees as a new domain to shed light on the epistemological transformations in military and security practices in the UK that follow.

Long abstract:

The UK government sees itself as a global superpower in so-called Artificial Intelligence (AI). This paper critically examines the UK government's use of the imaginary of AI in its effort to position itself in what it sees as a new domain. To do so the paper examines what imaginaries underpin the different parts of the UK government security and military assemblages, what worlds they produce, the modes of power they allow for. Tracing the different imaginaries produced through public strategies, working manuals, handbooks and guides as well as interviews with officials and consultants who worked on the cybersecurity AI documents the paper traces the emergence, contestation and stabilization of the imaginary of AI in the UK government cybersecurity and military practice. With the goal to make sense of the contemporary mobilisation of AI into UK military and security strategies, this paper seeks to contribute to the move beyond the ‘what ifs’ of offensive/defensive debates, the ethics of autonomous AI and the fallibility of sociotechnical systems towards how the military and the larger security apparatus are making sense of and providing meaning to the operational environment. By critically examining the imaginaries that are presented of AI by different government and military entities and the contestations in their making the paper produces novel insights into the historical constitution, present operational and future ramifications of the epistemological transformations that underpin the UK cybersecurity practices, the worlds they produce, the modes of power they allow for and the conflict and violence they engender.

Traditional Open Panel P123
Martial epistemologies, artificial intelligence and machineries of knowledge production
  Session 1