National Security Podcast: Techlosophy and the future of security

06 November 2019

Episode summary

In this episode of the National Security Podcast, Katherine Mansted and Zac Rogers get to the bottom of how information and bio-technologies are reshaping societies and the human mind – and what this means for those with a stake in democracy and national security.

Episode notes

In this National Security Podcast, Zac Rogers and Katherine Mansted talk about why political leaders have long been attracted to the idea that technology is a revolutionary key to progress and power. The panel also discusses how ideas about technology and modernity have animated brutal political regimes, global business models, and ideologies – from Leninism to Maoism. From China’s emerging brand of ‘techno-authoritarianism’ to the ‘technological nihilism’ of some Silicon Valley companies, we ask how emerging technologies are shaping politics, power, and security.

Listen here.

Hugely powerful digital corporations shape our daily preferences and behaviours, and potentially even our brains. Is the digital revolution on track to be an ‘organ transplant the body rejects’? How can governments tame technology to serve their interests and values? And what would a whole-of-society conversation about digital democracy look like?

Zac Rogers is Research Lead at the newly-established Jeff Bleich Centre for the US Alliance in Digital Technology, Security, and Governance at Flinders University. His research explores the impact of digital transformation on Australia’s security, national interests, defence planning, and strategy.

Katherine Mansted is a Senior Adviser for Public Policy at the National Security College and a Non-resident Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Show notes | These texts were referred to or used for the information discussed in this episode:

Mind Change: How Digital Technologies are Leaving their Mark on our Brains (2014) – or this shorter article on ABC radio.

World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech (2017)

Team Human (2019)

The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power (2019) – or this episode of the Harvard Business Review podcast.

You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto (2010) – or this article on “cybernetic totalism”

Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machinre (1948)

The Human Use of Human Beings (1950)

Enlightenment’s Wake: Politics and Culture at the Close of the Modern Age (1995)

We Have Never Been Modern (1993)

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