From Sun Tzu to the New York Times, the violence, turmoil, and strategy of war is something that has captivated our attention for centuries as we strive to understand what drives us to organised violence.
Now, more than ever, our understanding of war is changing - with the introduction of new technology, and with social media and smartphones bringing the realities and complexities of war into our everyday lives.
For those interested in exploring the intersections between violent conflict, media, and information technology a free online course opening on April 10 through UQX called Global Media, War, and Technology offers this opportunity.
Course convenor Dr Sebastian Kaempf said that while technology has opened up many new avenues for connection and communication between individuals, it has also exposed us to greater risk.
“Social media, cloud computing, and mobile devices such as smart phones and laptops have revolutionised how we live, connect, and communicate; and they have equally revolutionised the conduct of war and violent conflict,” Dr Kaempf said.
“We have entered a world where every move we make and every word we type is recorded and analysed. A world where terrorist organisations announce the beginning of their military campaign through a hashtag on Twitter. A world where deadly war is waged in cyberspace. Where the most prominent blockbuster films we watch and first-person shooter video games we play are being produced in close collaboration with militaries.”
“We might not take any interest in any of these developments; we might not even be interested in war and violent conflict. But we have become part of today’s battlefields and violent conflicts through the way our communications technology has become implicated in the latter.”
As we welcome war more intimately, albeit unwillingly into our lives, it is important that we understand the implications of allowing this technology into the intimate spaces.
“Most people do not think much beyond the screens in front of them. We might have a hunch that something is going on, but most of us tend to be ignorant of the info tech we use on a daily basis,” Dr Kaempf said.
By signing up to Global Media, War, and Technology participants have the opportunity to immerse themselves in these topics and learn more about how technology is being used in modern conflicts.
“Participants will discover the politics and structures that lie behind the screens of the communication technologies they use in their daily lives, like smartphones and laptops. They will learn about the dark underbelly of these technologies and media apps as more and more of our communication devices are now intersecting with war, violence, surveillance and propaganda,” Dr Kaempf said.
“The course, therefore, offers a unique view into the politics of information technology that will be eye-opening, disturbing, and fascinating."
The course is provided through UQX as part of UQ’s participation in the EdX program that offers free online courses to anyone who wants to participate. These massive open online courses referred to as MOOCs are available in a variety of topics from grammar for those wanted to invoke their inner maven, to criminal psychology for those who have finished bingeing Mind Hunter and are craving further insight into the criminal mind.
Global Media, War, and Technology will start on April 10, 2018 - you can sign up now to ensure your place in the course.
Check out the full array of courses available through UQX here.