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War, mathematics, and simulation: Drones and (losing) control of battlespace

Crogan, Patrick


Patrick Crogan
Associate Professor in Digital Cultures


Pat Harrigan

Matthew Kirschenbaum


This chapter will reflect on aspects of the expansion of military drone usage by Western powers in the “war on terror” over the last decade or so. In examining contemporary and envisaged drone deployments I am also concerned with what they can reveal about the technical tendency animating them. Tracing this back to the beginnings of Western culture shows that the material course of drone “advances” shares key features with wider trends in global digital technocultural becoming. I will explore the nature of this tendency inherent in drone materiality and technology, concentrating on the virtualizing, real-time digital developments in remotely controlled and increasingly automated robotic systems. I will analyze the nature and implications of their realtime reanimation of the world in digital modelings of the enemy in and as milieu, a milieu as tiny as the space around a single “target” and as large as the world, existing both in a brief “window of opportunity” and within a permanent real-time of preemptive, pan-spectrum surveillance.

Publication Date Mar 1, 2016
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 641-667
Series Title Game Histories
Book Title Zones of Control: Perspectives on Wargaming
ISBN 9780262033992
APA6 Citation Crogan, P. (2016). War, mathematics, and simulation: Drones and (losing) control of battlespace. In M. Kirschenbaum, & P. Harrigan (Eds.), Zones of Control: Perspectives on Wargaming, 641-667. The MIT Press
Keywords drones, simulation, Stiegler, military technology, war on terror
Publisher URL


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