Fall Semester 2015.
Convened by: Yasco Horsman, Frans-Willem Korsten, Tessa de Zeeuw
(LUCAS, Leiden University)
This term’s seminar focuses on a new type of actor that is playing a growing role in the political and military conflicts of our contemporary world: namely, machines operated by algorithms – or software – that are programmed to make independent decisions and to act on those decisions. The emergence and increasing prominence of machines that can make semi-autonomous decisions pose problems for international, military and human rights law. It can be difficult to know whom to hold accountable when innocent civilians are killed by drones, in situations where it is unclear whether the decision to strike was made by a person, a machine, or some hybrid of the two. It may even be an open question whether key legal concepts of accountability, liability, and responsibility, and the moral and legal framework to which they belong, can still be used in situations when warfare or security operations is partly automated. In particular the so-called ‘signature strikes’ performed by drones, in which computerized data analytics are used to reveal and assassinate potentially dangerous individuals, have prompted a series of legal, moral and political debates, which are politically urgent and theoretically complex.
In our seminar we will read contemporary philosophical, political and legal texts about the rise of ‘cybernetic personhood’ in juxtaposition to representations of code and algorithms in mainstream Hollywood cinema in order to understand the fears, fantasies and fascinations that underlie the legal and political debates about the relations between law and technology, and the challenges to representation and understanding that code poses.
The seminar is free and open to all. To obtain the readings please email Yasco Horsman (email@example.com), Frans-Willem Korsten (F.W.A.Korsten@hum.leidenuniv.nl) or Tessa de Zeeuw (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tuesday October 27nd, 15 – 17:00
Tuesday November 17th, 15-17:00
Tuesday December 1st, 15-17:00
Venue: HUIZINGA 27 (Doelensteeg 16), Leiden.
LINKS to most of the READINGS can be found on our collective Blog: http://rechtbankdrama.blogspot.co.uk
Session 1 (27/10): Algorithms, Art & Law
READING: Mireille Hildebrandt, Smart Technologies and the End(s) of Law. Novel Entanglements of Law and Technology. Cheltenham: E&E, 2015. (Excerpts); Gunther Teubner, “Electronic Agents and Animals as New Actors in Politics and Law.” In Journal of Law & Society, vol. 33, no. 4 (2006). 497-521.
FILM: Ex Machina (Garland, 2015)
ART: Trading Bot (Artists Collective Rybn: http://rybn.org)
Session 2 ( 17/11): Drones, Manhunting & Signature Strikes
READING: Susan Schuppli, “Deadly Algorithms.” In Radical Philosophy, no 187 (2014) https://www.radicalphilosophy.com/commentary/deadly-algorithms; Gregoire Chamayou, “The Manhunt Doctrine.” In Radical Philosophy, no. 169 (2011), http://www.radicalphilosophy.com/commentary/the-manhunt-doctrine; Gregoire Chamayou, Drone Theory. London & New York: Penguin, 2015. Excerpts.
FILM: The Good Kill (Niccol, 2014)
Session 3: (1/12) Code, Protocol, Power, Control
READING: Alexander Galloway, “Protocol: How Control Exists after Decentralization.” In Rethinking Marxism, Vol. 13, no. 3/4 (2001). 81-86; Gilles Deleuze, “Postscript on Societies of Control.” In October, vol 59 (1992). 3-7; The Invisible Committee, “Fuck off, Google!” To Our Friends. Cambridge, Ma: MIT Press, 2015.
FILM: Blackhat (Mann, 2015)