Travelling Technologies: Repertoires of AI innovation, experimentation and deployment across policing and warfare operations


All are invited to join this Contesting Governance symposium on the 1st of December 2023, delving into the topic of travelling AI technologies across military and policing operations. Over the past decade, we see how new technologies are making their way into domestic policing and remote warfare operations. From the deployment of kamikaze or suicide drones with AI-enhanced autonomous capabilities in Ukraine, to the testing out of dog robot ‘Spot’ with the Massachusetts State Police Department, digital technologies are becoming crucial components of existing security regimes. Innovations in the field of artificial intelligence, which were often developed in the civilian domain and applied in industries such as healthcare, transportation, and finance, have crossed over to the field of law enforcement and the military (and vice versa).


12:30 - 12:45IntroductionDr. Tessa Diphoorn and Dr. Lauren Gould

12:45 - 13:15


Dr. Roberto Gonzalez

13:15 - 14:45

Panel 1: Warfare

Speaker 1: Dr. Marijn Hoijtink

Speaker 2: Dr. Elke Schwarz

Speaker 3: Dr. Tom Watts

14:45 -15:00


15:00 - 15:30


Dr. Erella Grassiani

15:30 - 17:00

Panel 2: Policing  

Speaker 1: Dr. Hayal Akarsu

Speaker 2: Marc Schuilenburg

Speaker 3: Dr. Rosamunde van Brakel

17:00 – 18:00

Wrap up & Drinks

Prof. dr. Jolle Demmers

Recent debates on technology, war and security often highlight the ethical and legal dilemmas around the emergence of AI and autonomous weapons. In this symposium, however, we focus on the broader discursive and material infrastructures that facilitate the innovation and deployment of these technologies and their impact on those who are being targeted. Questions leading this inquiry include: How do various actors, objects, ideas, practices and affects come together to innovate these technologies? What do industries providing these new technologies offer in terms of capabilities and solutions? What is the relation between human agents and technology in the chain of policing and military decision-making on the use of violence? How do these technologies ‘work’ in detail? What do police and military personnel need and expect from new technologies? What forms of trust and distrust in these new technologies do they express? Where are they being deployed and at what costs to civilians? 

When answering these questions, we are specifically interested in the ‘travelling’ of these technologies across the domains of policing and warfare. In their empirical work, the organisers of this event, dr. Tessa Diphoorn and dr. Lauren Gould, have identified how technologies move back and forth across localities of engagement. Fieldwork findings identify a growing trend in ‘security experimentation’ where new technological applications are ‘tested’ out in distant settings and then travel home (and vice versa). Very often there is a discrepancy between the imagined solutions these technologies will bring and the lived realities on the ground. Such mobilities and frictions demonstrate how military and domestic policing applications are intertwined in new and unexpected ways. This symposium aims to unpack these dimensions further and better understand how travelling occurs across various localities of engagement and how they shape our understandings of how crime and war can be, or should be, fought. In this symposium, we invite scholars to present their current work that speaks to these topics and that specifically fleshes out this dimension of ‘travelling’ in the fields of technological advancements in security.  


Start date and time
End date and time
Drift 21, room 005 (Sweelinckzaal)
Entrance fee

Please click here to register