Patrick Crogan

TALK: Killer Robots: Artificial Thought, War and Environment

LARS or “lethal autonomous robotic systems” are the subject of considerable debate. N Katherine Hayles’ argues that we should approach technological change (including drone systems) as questions about the “cognitive assemblages” through which humans not only act but in fact interpret the world. Human thought has always been enabled and conditioned through technical artefacts, but today processes of perceiving, selecting, filtering, identifying and deciding that were once assumed to be the preserve of the mind are increasingly outsourced to networks of sensors, computational processing and “actuators.” These non-human, inorganic elements of the cognitive assemblage of human endeavour in the domain of war necessarily change our perception and understanding of it. For instance, research on life forms such as ants and birds finds its way into the development of swarming in robotics advances. How are we to compose a politically, ethically, legally legitimate form of war within this new environment?

PATRICK CROGAN (PhD, University of Sydney) is Associate Professor of Digital Cultures at the University of the West of England, Bristol. He is the author of Gameplay Mode: War, Simulation and Technoculture, which examines what videogames can tell us about the relations between war and technoculture. He is working to renew a sustainable cultural future through the enormous potential of the digital to foster creativity, collaboration, critical engagement, and new kinds of collective futures. He was Principal Investigator on the 2014-15 AHRC Video Game Research Networking project, Creative Territories, with project partners the Bristol Games Hub and Utrecht University. He convened the DCRC symposium on Autonomy and Automation: AI, Robotics and the Digital Cultural Future in 2014. He co-edited the 2012 special issue of Culture Machine.

WEB (link)


Crogan, P. (2016) War, mathematics, and simulation: Drones and (losing) control of battlespace. In: Harrigan, P. and Kirschenbaum, M., eds. (2016) Zones of Control: Perspectives on Wargaming. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, pp. 641-667 (link)

Crogan, P. (2016) The automation of everyday life . AdCommunica: Revista cientifica de estrategias, tendencias e innovacion en communicacion (12). pp. 127-139 (link)

Crogan, P. (2013) Passing, swirling, spinning: A brief note on Stiegler’s post-phenomenological account of mediated experience . In: Conditions of Mediation, Birkbeck College, 17 June, 2013. (link)

Crogan, P. and Kinsley, S. (2012) Paying attention: Toward a critique of the attention economy . Culture Machine, 13. pp. 1-29. (link)

Crogan, P. (2012) Editing (and) individuation . New Formations: A Journal of Culture, Theory, Politics (77). pp. 97-110 (link)

Crogan, P. (2012) The experience of the industrial temporal object . In: Moore, G. and Howells, C., eds. (2012) Stiegler and Technics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. (link)


Gameplay Mode: War, Simulation, and Technoculture (link)

[From the cover] From flight simulators and first-person shooters to MMPOG and innovative strategy games like 2008’s Spore, computer games owe their development to computer simulation and imaging produced by and for the military during the Cold War. To understand their place in contemporary culture, Patrick Crogan argues, we must first understand the military logics that created and continue to inform them. Gameplay Mode situates computer games and gaming within the contemporary technocultural moment, connecting them to developments in the conceptualization of pure war since the Second World War and the evolution of simulation as both a technological achievement and a sociopolitical tool…