Taster lectures in Politics and International Relations

Friday 21 June

Lecture 1

Time and location: 12.45-1.15pm, Francis Bancroft, David Sizer

Title: Killer robots: The ethics and politics of artificial intelligence

Description: Technology in general, and Artificial Intelligence specifically, is poised to have a significant impact on social and political life in the near future. This taster lecture considers some of the ethical and political implications of Artificial Intelligence and considers how this technology affects economic practices, modes of governance and issues of security and war. In this, it offers a brief survey of key issues and their theoretical foundations.

Speaker: Dr Elke Schwarz

Lecture 2

Time and location: 3-3.30pm, Francis Bancroft, David Sizer

Title: Broken: How has Brexit impacted on the UK’s parties and party system?

Description: In June 2016 voters in the United Kingdom decided, albeit by a narrow margin in a closely-fought referendum, to leave the European Union.  Their decision laid bare years, even decades of disconnect and discontent rooted in long-term socio-economic, political, demographic, and cultural change.  But Brexit has not only revealed problems, it has caused them, not least for the country’s political parties, which were already having to cope with increased fragmentation and volatility.  Now, their initial coping strategies seem to lie in tatters.  Is there anything they can do?

Speaker: Professor Tim Bale

Saturday 22 June

Lecture 1

Time and location: 12.45-1.15pm, Francis Bancroft, David Sizer

Title: Death by metadata: The rise of drone warfare

Description: Will future wars be fought solely by machines? Do computer algorithms make better decisions to kill than humans? Is targeted killing legal? In this session, we will examine the emergence of the armed drone and its proliferation across the globe. We will focus on the key questions that this new technology raises for the politics of war. We will also look at how drones are being used in non-military applications, in particular by police departments. What does this expanded use of drones mean for the line between war and peace? What might it mean for the future of humanity?

Speaker: Dr Kate Hall

Lecture 2

Time and location: 3-3.30pm, Francis Bancroft, David Sizer

Title: Brexit: WTF?

Description: Why is Brexit so difficult? Why, nearly three years after the referendum result, is the UK still in the EU (assuming it is still in the EU, things are changing pretty fast…)? In this talk, we’ll look at why the UK voted for Brexit in the first place, and identify a set of fundamental problems undermining the Brexit process. People voted ‘Leave’ for widely differing reasons, and there is no possible version of Brexit that will satisfy them all. But with elites (both ‘Leavers’ and ‘Remainers’) divided over how to deal with this issue, and everyone certain that their side will win if they just refuse to compromise for a little bit longer, finding a way forward is proving impossible.

Speaker: Dr James Strong