Recording: Ukraine, Connectivity and the Future of War

Dr Matthew Ford (University of Sussex) and Professor Andrew Hoskins (Glasgow University) discuss their new co-authored book Radical War: Data, Attention and Control in the 21st Century.

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The war in Ukraine is the most connected war in history. An estimated 85% of Ukrainians have an active mobile-broadband subscription. It is the first state-on-state war in Europe that is entirely mediated by digital technology. In this talk, we use the smartphone to show how the war-media production cycle has been re-written by digital devices. Now everyone can participate in war, whether they are propagandising from home or on the frontlines taking pictures of enemy tank movements.

Smartphones have been used by civilians to help the Ukrainian armed forces gather and fuse intelligence for targeting and battle damage assessment. The Russians have made a point of picking out those individuals who they suspect have used these devices to film their movements. Spread unevenly across multiple online platforms, user-created images and commentary have created a huge digital archive that might eventually come to inform war crimes tribunals. How we make sense of this material and use it to write a history of the war in Ukraine demands careful thought. In this talk, we examine the distorting prisms of war in the 21st century and the way they complicate our capacity to make sense of future conflict.

The event is chaired by Nick Reynolds, Research Analyst, Land Warfare, RUSI.


Nick Reynolds

Research Fellow, Land Warfare

Military Sciences

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