Digital War
School of Media Studies
The New School
Spring 2024

Instructor: Peter Asaro asarop AT newschool.edu
Time: Tuesday, 6:00 - 7:50 pm
Location: Synchronous Online (Zoom)

Course webpage is here: http://peterasaro.org/courses/2024War.html

Course blog is here: http://digitalwar2024.wordpress.com/

Course Description

This course focuses on exploring how digital technologies and media are transforming warfare, international conflicts, and popular uprisings and their suppression. We will explore how these technologies are changing the nature of warfare, and the rhetoric that is used to justify the development and use of these new technologies and strategies. The course critically examines the claims that technologies can produce increasingly risk-free, or even bloodless, wars, and considers how the risks of engaging in armed conflict are being redistributed. It also examines how new forms of digital and social media are being enlisted in the service of international conflicts. Topics discussed include the military's use of video games for recruitment and training; the role of digital media in war journalism, state propaganda and information warfare, and hackivist sites such as Wikileaks; the use of social media in both organizing and suppressing popular uprisings such as the Arab Spring; mass surveillance in the name of state security; developments in cyberwarfare; and the increasing use of military robotics, including armed Predator and Reaper drones, as well as the development of fully autonomous weapons.


Class Attendance & Participation 30%
Blog Entries & Comments: 20%
Research Project Idea: 5%
Research Project Full Proposal: 10%
Final Project Presentation 15%
Final Research Project: 20%

Class Attendance and Participation: 30%

ZOOM Policy: As this is a seminar, your participation in class discussion is essential. You are expected to join the ZOOM session on time and to have your camera on throughout the class. You should try to find a private place to join the class so you can speak and appear on camera. If there is distracting activity in the background, you can use the background blur function. You should have your mic off when not speaking. If you need to turn your camera off temporarily to take a break, that is fine. But if your camera is off we will assume you are not participating. All class sessions will be recorded and posted to a shared Google drive which is accessbile only to students in this class. You will be aable to access and review these if you miss a class or need to go back and review them.

You are expected to have thoroughly and thoughtfully read the assigned texts, viewed the assigned videos, and to have prepared yourself to contribute meaningfully to the class discussions. For some people, that preparation requires taking copious notes on the assigned readings; for others, it entails supplementing the assigned readings with explanatory texts found in survey textbooks or in online sources; and for others still, it involves reading the texts, ruminating on them afterwards, then discussing those readings with classmates before the class meeting. Whatever method best suits you, I hope you will arrive at class with copies of the assigned reading, ready and willing to make yourself a valued contributor to the discussion, and eager to share your own relevant media experiences and interests. Your participation will be evaluated in terms of both quantity and quality.

As this is a seminar, regular attendance is essential. You will be permitted two excused absences (you must notify me of your inability to attend before class, via email). Any subsequent absences and any un-excused absences will adversely affect your grade.

Blog Entries & Comments: 20% (+ up to 5% extra credit)

You will be required to make weekly blog entries commenting on the readings for the week. You will be required to create an account on WordPress (if you do not already have one), and send me an email with your LoginID and the EMAIL ADDRESS used to create the account, so that you can be added as an author for the collective course blog. Everyone will be posting to a common blog page, and this will be readable by your classmates. When writing and making comments, you are expected to treat other students with the same respect and courtesy as you should in the classroom.

Discussion questions will be posted each week to help stimulate the writing process. You are also expected to read the posts of your classmates, and encouraged to comment on other people's posts each week. Posts will not be graded (they will receive 2 {on-time], 1 [late] or 0 [not completed] points), but I will read them and occasionally comment on them. There will be 10 posts required through the semester, thus 20 points, constituting 20% of your grade.

Comments are strongly encouraged, and you can receive up to 10 points (extra credit) for each substantial comment (paragraph or longer) that you make on someone else's post.

Blog posts will be due before the start of each class. They are time stamped when you post them, and late posts will only receive half credit (1 point). THere is no specific topic for each post, but they should express your reactions to and reflections on the readings for that week.

Research Project Idea: 5%
Research Project Full Proposal: 10%
Final Project Presentation 15%
Final Research Project: 20%

Research Project Idea Due: February 27
Length: 300-500 words (approx. 1 page)

Research Project Full Proposal/Draft Due: April 2
Length: 500-2000 words (approx. 1-4 pages)

Final Project Presentations: May 7
Oral Presentation, 15 minutes (Powerpoint Optional) plus discussion

Final Project Due: May 10
Length (media project description): 500-3000 words (approx. 1-10 pages) + Media Project
Length (research paper option): 3000-5000 words (approx. 10-18 pages)

There will be no final exam. Instead, a final research project will be required. There are 2 options: Research Paper Option, and Media Project Option.

Final Project will be due one week after the last day of class. If that deadline will not work for you, you need to make other arrangements one week in advance, at the latest. We will set aside time in the last day(s) of class for presentations of final projects. These will not be graded but will offer an opportunity for feedback before submitting your final project.

Project topics can address any aspect of the topics and materials discussed in class. Projects should include materials beyond what is directly covered in class, as appropriate for your topic. In other words, they should require research. The blog will provide many ideas for projects, as will class discussion. You will be asked to submit a short description of your Project Idea early in the semester, and will receive feedback on it.

Later in the semester you will have to write a more formal Proposal for your project, based on feedback and further research. Project proposals should state the research question, problem, or phenomenon that will be the focus of your research. It should also state your thesis or position on the issue, as well as outline the argument you will use to support your position. This applies to both papers and media projects. You should also indicate the sources and materials you will consult and utilize in making your argument and producing your final project. For the Media Project Option, you should state as clearly as possible what you intend to deliver for the final draft (i.e., video length, style, format, content; website; set of infographics, etc.).

Final Project Presentations will occur on the last days of class. These should be short 5-10 minutes summary of your research paper or project, allowing 5-10 minutes for discussion. Group projects can be presented collectively.

Research Paper Option
This will take the form of a 3000-5000 word (Times New Roman, 12pt font, double spaced) term paper. You should draw upon sources from the course readings as well as beyond the course readings. You should cite your sources properly.

Media Project Option
Media Projects can take the form of film and video pieces, audio documentaries, websites, interactive media, performance pieces, infographics, a social media campaign strategy, or other ideas. In addition to the actual media product, you will need to submit your Idea, Proposal, and a Final short written piece explaining your project, its motivations, methods and what you did to realize it.

Group Project Option
Those pursuing the Media Project Option have the further option of participating in a group research project. For the students pursuing this option, the process will be much the same, with the Idea being an individual statement of what you plan to contribute to the group project, and the Proposal and Final projects being collective efforts to realize the research project. In addition, each person choosing this option must submit a 1-page self-assessment of their participation in the group, due at the same time as the Final project.

For the Group Project Option, the topic will be to develop social media strategy and/or media content for the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (www.icrac.net). As a co-founder of this organization, I will provide guidance to the group. However, it is largely up to the group to conceive and develop the project. The actual project could range from a high-level media strategy, to infographics and clickable content, to a social media campaign, to an audio/video or digital media project, or any combination of these or other ideas.
Past group projects included a performance piece (with live drone and event poster), a short documentary film, and website: https://vimeo.com/62904622.

Autonomous Weapons

Papers and written ideas and proposals should be submitted to me in electronic form by email (Word Perfect, MS Word, PDF, HTML and plain TXT are all fine). All assignments are due at 6pm at the start of class on the day they are due. Late final papers will not be accepted, as I must turn in grades shortly thereafter.

Generative AI Policy

You are expected to do your own writing for this class. While you may use generative AI creatively in you final project, you must carefully describe its use and your own original conrtibutions to your final project as part of your proposal and final paper. You may also use generative AI to correct and improve your grammar and use of language, but the ideas and arugments of your texts should be yours. Your weekly blog posts should be your own writing and ideas. Any and all use of generative AI should be disclosed in the assignment when you turn it in. Violation of this policy will be treated as plagarism.

Extra Credit & Make-ups

In addition to the extra points available for commenting on blog posts, there will be several events during the semester which will allow you to get extra credit points, or make-up for missed (excused) classes.


All readings will be available electronically, via the web, in PDF, MS Word, HTML, or similar format. You are welcome and encouraged to buy any of the books used.


Week 1: January 23
Course Introduction

Student Introductions

How to create a WordPress Account, and make a Blog Entry

Watch Before Class: " Drones, Hackers and Mercenaries - The Future of War" DW Documentary, 42 min., April, 2022.

Week 2: January 30
Propaganda 1.0


Edward Bernays, Propaganda, Horace Liveright Inc., 1928, pp. 1-61 and 135-153.

Joseph Goebbels, "The Führer as a Speaker," German Propaganda Archive, Calvin College, 1936.

David Vaughn, "The Master's Voice," The Guardian, October 8, 2008.

Cornelia Epping-Jäger "Hitler’s Voice : The Loudspeaker under National Socialism." Intermédialités, 17 (2011): 83–104.

Joseph Goebbels, "Knowledge and Propaganda," German Propaganda Archive, Calvin College, 1934.

Watch: Joachim Fest and Christian Herrendoerfer, Hitler: A Career, 1977, 160 min.

Edward Herman & Noam Chomsky "A Propaganda Model," in Meenakshi Gigi Durham & Douglas M. Kellner, Eds., Media and Cultural Studies: KeyWorks, Rev. Ed., Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001: 280-317.


Watch: Alvaro Longoria, The Propaganda Game, 2015, 98 min.

Watch: "President Biden's Remarks on Democracy," C-SPAN, September 1, 2022, 28 min.

Watch: Mark Achbar and Peter Wintonick, Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, 1992, 167 min.

Week 3: February 6
Propaganda 2.0: Fake News & Media Manipulation


Will Oremus, "The Filter Bubble Revisted," Slate, April 5, 2017.

Nathan Ballantyne and David Dunning, "Skeptics Say, 'Do Your Own Research.' It's Not That Simple," New York Times, Jan. 3, 2022.

Alice Marwick, and Rebecca Lewis, "Media Manipulaiton and Disinformation Onine," Data & Society, 2017.

George M. Eberhart, "Media Literacy in an Age of Fake News," American Libraries Magazine, November 1, 2019.

Jennifer Mercieca (2020) Demagogue for President: The Rhetorical Genius of Donald Trump, Texas A&M University Press, College Station, TX.

Paul Rosenberg, "The secret of his success: Donald Trump's six weird tricks for authoritarian rule," Salon, July 4, 2020.

Watch: Rachel E. Moran, and Madeline Jalbert, "Info Lit 101 Part 3: Misinformation and Disinformation," Metropolitan New York Library Council, June 22, 2022, 41 minutes.

Watch: Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, "The Great Hack," Netflix, 2019, 114 minutes.

Watch: PBS Frontline, "United States of Conspiracy," July 28, 2020, 54 min.


Alice Marwick, and Rebecca Lewis, "Media Manipulaiton and Disinformation Onine: Case Studies," Data & Society, 2017.

Watch: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver , "The Sinclair Group," HBO, July 2, 2017, 19 minutes.

Watch: PBS Frontline, "American Insurrection," April 13, 2021, 84 min.

Watch: Jeff Hancock, "The Future of Lying," Ted Talk, September 2012, 18 minutes.

Hunt Allcott and Matthew Gentzkow, "Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election," Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(2), Spring 2017, pp. 211-236.

Watch: Eli Parser, "Beware Online 'Filter Bubbles'," Ted Talk, March 2011, 9 minutes.


Week 4: February 13
Information Warfare & Cyberwar


Herbert Lin, and Jaclyn Kerr, "On Cyber-Enabled Information/Influence Warfare and Manipulation," Oxford Handbook of Cybersecurity, 2018.

John Brockmiller, "PSYWAR in Intelligence Operations," CIA Report (SECRET), Declassified September 18, 1995.

Emerson T. Brooking, and P. W. Singer, War Goes Viral: How Social Media is being Weaponized Across the World, The Atlantic, October, 2016.

Graphika and Stanford Internet Observatory (2022). "Unheard Voice: Evaluating five years of pro-Western covert influence operations," Stanford Internet Obseratory, August 24, 2022.

JRenee DiResta, John Perrino (2022) "U.S. Influence Operations: The Military's Resurrected Digital Campaign for Hearts and Minds," Lawfare, October 12, 2022.

Adrian Chen, The Agency, New York Times Magazine, June 2, 2015.

Watch: Baltic Elves Fight Kremlin Trolls, Radio Free Europe, May 19, 2017, 3 min.

Watch: Elves vs Trolls - Fighting Disinformation in Lithuania, NATO, May 3, 2017, 2 min.

Peter Elkind, "Inside the Hack of the Century: Part 1, 2 and 3," Fortune, June 25, 2015

David E. Sanger, David D. Kirkpatrick, and Nicole Perlroth, "The World Once Laughed at North Korean Cyberpower. No More." The New York Times, October 15, 2017.


Christopher Paul, "Assessing and Evaluating Department of Defense Efforts to Inform, Influence, and Persuade: Worked Example," RAND Report, 2017

Julian E. Barnes and Sheera Frenkel (2022) "Pentagon Orders Review of Its Overseas Social Media Campaigns," New York Times, September 19, 2022.

Fred Kaplan, Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War, Chapters 1-10, pp. 1-190, Simon & Schuster, 2016.

Watch: Cyber War, Season 1, Epsiode 8, "America's Elite Hacking Force", Viceland, 23min.

Watch: Nova (2015) Cyberwar Threat, PBS, 54 min. PAYWALL

Wikipedia, "Operation Aurora"

United States Strategic Command, Cyber Warfare Lexicon: A Language to Support the Development, Testing, Planning, and Employmnet of Cyber Weapons and Other Modern Warfare Capabilities, January 5, 2009.

Tallinn Manual for Cyberwarfare

Tallinn Manual 2.0

Wikipedia, "Tallinn Manual"

Wikipedia, "Cyberwarfare"

Wikipedia, "U.S. Cyber Command"

United States Army Field Manual on Electronic Warfare (2012)

United States Department of Defense, "Cyber Strategy"

Week 5: February 20
Digital War in Ukraine


Watch: United States Information Agency (1984) Soviet Active Measures, 23 min.

Watch: BBC News, "How Ukraine and Russia are rewriting the rules of cyber war," YouTube, 9 min.

Peter Pomerantsev, "Brave New War," The Atlantic, December 29, 2015.

Peter Pomerantsev, "Inside the Kremlin's Hall of Mirrors," The Guardian, 9 April 2015.

Massimo Calabresi, Inside Russia's Social Media War on America, Time, May 18, 2017.

Daisuke Wakabayashi, and Nicolas Confessore, "Russia's Favored Outlet is an Online News Giant. YouTube Helped." The New York Times, October 23, 2017.

Jim Rutenberg, "RT, Sputnick and Russia's New Theory of War," New York Times Magazine, September 13, 2017.

Watch: NYTimes The Weekly, Episode 2: "Fake Believe", 2 min. trailer, Full episode on Hulu, 27 mins. (2019)

David E. Sanger, Julian E. Barnes and Kate Conger, "As Tanks Rolled Into Ukraine, So Did Malware. Then Microsoft Entered the War," New York Times, February 28, 2022

Neil MacFarquhar, "Two Days of Russian News Coverage: An Alternate Reality of War," New York Times, March 8, 2022

Stuart A. Thompson, "The War in Ukraine, as Seen on Russian TV," New York Times, May 6, 2022

Valeriya Safronova, Neil MacFarquhar and Adam Satariano, "Where Russians Turn for Uncensored News on Ukraine," New York Times, April 16, 2022

Jelena Vićić and Rupal N. Mehta, "Why Russian Cyber Dogs Have Mostly Failed to Bark," War on the Rocks, March 14, 2022

Stacie Pettyjohn, "Evolution Not Revolution: Drone Warfare in Russia's 2022 Invasion of Ukraine," Center for New American Security, February 8, 2024


James Jones, Inside Ukraine’s Propaganda War, Frontline, March 14, 2014.

Watch: James Jones, The Battle for Ukraine, PBS Frontline, Episode 13, May 27, 2014, 32 mins.

Suzanne Spaulding, Harvey Rishikof, "How Putin Works to Weaken Faith in the Rule of Law and Our Justice System," Lawfare, September 17, 2018.

Listen: Christopher Krebs and Robert Chesney, "Gray Zone, Twilight Zone, or Danger Zone? Russian Cyber and Information Operations in Ukraine", War on the Rocks Podcast, 37 min, March 18, 2022.

Watch: "Putin's Road to War," PBS Frontline, 54 minutes, March 15, 2022.

Watch: "Ukraine: Life Under Russia's Attack," PBS Frontline, 54 minutes, August 2, 2022.

Glenn J. Voelz, "The Rise of iWar: Identity, Information and The Individualization of Modern Warfare, Strategic Studies Instititue, October 2015.

Watch: "Peter Pomerantsev: The Mechanics of Russia's Information War," YouTube, September 1, 2016, 10 minutes.

Watch: "Peter Pomerantsev: From Information to Disinformation Age - Russia and the Future of Propaganda Wars," YouTube, February 16, 2016, 72 minutes.

Week 6: February 27
Project Ideas Due
Digital War in Syria & Gaza


Watch: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver , "Israel-Hamas War," HBO, November 13, 2023, 31 minutes.

Huw Lemmey (2012) "Devastation in Meatspace," The New Inquiry, November 28, 2012.

Chaim Levinson (2013) "To tweet or not to tweet? The IDF answers the question," Haaretz, Sep. 16, 2013.

Rebeccas L. Stein (2014) "How Israel militarized social media," Mondoweiss, July 24, 2014.

Max Schindler (2014) "In social media battle, IDF uploads while Hamas accounts are deleted," Christian Science Monitor, July 17, 2014.

Watch: "Israel-Hamas war: The latest front of cyberwarfare?," DW News, Octoer 19, 2023, 11 min.

Faisal Irshaid (2014) "How ISIS is spreading its message online," BBC News, June 19, 2014.

Patrick Kingsley (2014) "Who is behind ISIS's terrifying online propaganda operation?" The Guardian, June 23, 2014.

Mustapha Ajbaili (2014) "How ISIS conquered social media," Al Arabiya News, Tuesday, 24 June 2014.

David Carr (2014) "With Videos of Killings, ISIS Sends Medieval Message by Modern Method," New York Times, September 7, 2014.

Jay Caspian Kang (2014) "ISIS's Call of Duty," The New Yorker, September 18, 2014.

Watch: DW News (2023) Fact check: AI fakes in Israel's war against Hamas, November, 28, 2023, 7 min.

Jay Eric Tegler (2023) "Small AI-Enabled Drones Could Be First Into Gaza Streets And Buildings," Forbes, October 27, 2023.

David Hambling (2021) "Israel used world's first AI-guided combat drone swarm in Gaza attacks," New Scientist, June 30, 2021.

Rebecca Armitage (2023) "The skies over Gaza are abuzz with drones. Some are Israeli, some are American, and some are flying bombs made by Hamas," ABC News (Australia), November 5, 2023.

Yuval Abraham (2023) "'A mass assassination factory': Inside Israel's calculated bombing of Gaza," +972 Magazine, November 30, 2023.

Harry Davies, Bethan McKernan and Dan Sabbagh (2023) "‘The Gospel’: how Israel uses AI to select bombing targets in Gaza," The Guardian, December 1, 2023.

Noah Sylvia (2024) "Israel’s Targeting AI: How Capable is It?," RUSI, February 8, 2024.

Tal Mimran and Lior Weinstein (2023) "The IDF Introduces Artificial Intelligence to the Battlefield – A New Frontier?" Lieber Institute, West Point, March 1, 2023.

Brian Merchant (2023) "Column: We don’t know how Israel’s military is using AI in Gaza, but we should," Los Angeles Times, November 2, 2023.

Mohar Chatterjee (2023) "Israel’s appetite for high-tech weapons highlights a Biden policy gap ," Politico, November 25, 2023.

Lucy Suchman (2024) "The algorithmically accelerated killing machine," AI Now, January 24, 2024.


The Economist (2023) "How Israel is using drones in Gaza They help keep troops out of the line of fire—but can pose a risk to civilians," Forbes, December 4, 2023. (paywall or library access)

Explore Loitering Munition Websites: Spear VIPER (4 models).
Spear NINOX.
Spear NINOX.
Extend WOLVERINE (video).

Israeli Defense Forces_Spokesperson's_Unit

Watch: Frontline (2014) The Rise of ISIS, October, 28, 2014, 53 min.

Watch: Viceland (2016) Cyber War Episode 5, Syria's Cyber Battlefields, 23 min. Paywalled

Week 7: March 5
Drones & Targeted Killing


Grégoire Chamayou (2011) "The Manhunt Doctrine," Radical Philosophy, Volume 169, Sep/Oct 2011.

James Cavallaro, Sarah Knuckey, et al. (2012) "Living Under Drones: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians from US Drone Practices in Pakistan," September 2012.

Jenna Jordan, (2009) "When Heads Roll: Assessing the Effectiveness of Leadership Decapitation," Security Studies, 18, pp. 719-755.

Peter Asaro (2013) "The Labor of Surveillance and Bureaucratized Killing: New Subjectivities of Military Drone Operators," Special Issue on Charting, Tracking, Mapping: Technology, Labor, and Surveillance, Gretchen Soderlund (ed.), Social Semiotics, 23 (2), pp. 196-224.

Watch: Frontline (2011) Kill/Capture, PBS, 53 min.

Explore: Bureau of Investigative Journalism "Drone Wars: The Full Data" website

Explore: Pitch Interactive Visualization of BIJ Drone Strike Data

Matt Taibbi, "How to Survive America's Kill List," Rolling Stone, June 19, 2018.

Charlie Savage, "White House Tightens Rules on Counterterrorism Drone Strikes," New York Times, October 7, 2022.

Andrew E. Kramer, "From the Workshop to the War: Creative Use of Drones Lifts Ukraine," New York Times, August 10, 2022.

Austin Ramzy, "What is known about the Iranian-made drones that Russia is using to attack Ukraine," New York Times, October 17, 2022.

Yaroslav Trofimov and Dion Nissenbaum, "Russia's Use of Iranian Kamikaze Drones Creates New Dangers for Ukrainian Troops," The Wall Street Journal, September 17, 2022.

Jane Perlez and Amy Chang Chien, "Chinese Drones: The Latest Irritant Buzzing Taiwan's Defenses," New York Times, September 10, 2022.


Seth G. Jones and Martin C. Libicki, "How Terrorist Groups End: Implications for Countering al Qa'ida", RAND Corporation, MG-741-RC, 2008, 252 pp.

Naureen Shah, et al. (2012) "The Civilian Impact of Drones: Unexamined Costs, Unanswered Questions," September, 2012.

Wajahat Ali, "Drone victim: U.S. strikes boost al-Qaida recruitment," Salon, May 2, 2013.

Jeremy Scahill, "Alleged Target of Drone Strike That Killed American Teenager Is Alive, According to State Department," The Intercept, January 5, 2017.

Mark Isikoff, "Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans," NBC News, February 4, 2013. Also: Full Memo

Monday, March 11
New America Online Seminar (free registration required)
Peter Pomerantsev with Peter Bergen, "How to Win an Information War: The Propagandist Who Outwitted Hitler," 12-1pm ET

Week of Tuesday, March 12

Week 8: March 19
Military Robotics & Autonomous Lethal Weapons, a.k.a. Killer Robots


Human Rights Watch (2012) "Losing Humanity: The Case Against Killer Robots," HRW Report, November 19, 2012.

HRW Press release with Video.

Charlie Carpenter (2014) "The Skynet Factor: Four Myths About Science Fiction and the Killer Robot Debate," Washington Post, September 3, 2014.

U.S. Department of Defense, "Directive on Autonomy in Weapons Systems," NUMBER 3000.09, November 21, 2012 (Updated May 8, 2017).

Michael N. Schmitt, and Jeffrey S. Thurnher, "'Out of the Loop': Autonomous Weapon Systems and the Law of Armed Conflict," February 5, 2013, Harvard National Security Journal. 231 (2013), pp. .

Peter Asaro. "How Just Could a Robot War Be?" in Adam Briggle, Katinka Waelbers and Philip A. E. Brey (eds.), Current Issues in Computing And Philosophy, Amsterdam, The Netherlands: IOS Press, pp. 50-64, 2008.

Peter Asaro. "On Banning Autonomous Lethal Systems: Human Rights, Automation and the Dehumanizing of Lethal Decision-making," Special Issue on New Technologies and Warfare, International Review of the Red Cross, 94 (886), Summer 2012, pp. 687-709.

Roff, Heather M., and Richard Moyes (2016) “Meaningful Human Control, Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Weapons.” Briefing paper prepared for the Informal Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, April 2016.

Peter Asaro (2016). "Jus nascendi, Robotic Weapons and the Martens Clause," in Ryan Calo, Michael Froomkin and Ian Kerr (eds.) Robot Law, Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 367–386.

Peter Asaro (2019). "Algorithms of Violence: Critical Social Perspectives on Autonomous Weapons," Special Issue on Algorithms, Social Research, Vol. 86, No. 2 (Summer 2019), pp. 537-555.

Watch: Future of Life Institute (2017) Slaughterbots, Video, 8 min.

Watch: Future of Life Institute (2021) Slaughterbots: If human:kill(), Video, 6 min.

Watch: New York Times (2019) A.I. Is Making it Easier to Kill (You). Here's How., Video, 20 min.

Watch: Campaign to Stop Killer Robots (2022) Immoral Code, Video, 23 min.

Watch: Deutsche Welle (2022) "How AI is driving a future of autonomous warfare," YouTube, 27 min.

Listen/Read: Nahlah Ayed, "Killer robots march into uncharted ethical territory," CBC Radio, September 20, (2019), 53 min.


Watch: Daniel Suarez (2013) The Kill Decision Shouldn't Belong to a Robot, TED Talks, 14 min.

Watch: Noel Sharkey (2013) Toy Soldiers to Killer Robots, TEDxSheffield 2013, 18 min.

Christof Heyns, "Lethal Autonomous Robots: Report of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions," United Nations Human Rights Council, A/HRC/23/47, April 9, 2013.

Thursday, March 21
New America Online Seminar (free registration required)
Dr. Andrew F. Krepinevich, "Disruptive Military Innovation and the Fate of Great Powers," 6:30-8:30pm ET

Week 9: March 26
Mass Surveillance


Watch: Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras Interview with Edward Snowden Part I, 12 min., The Guardian, July 9, 2013, and Part II, 7 min., The Guardian, July 8, 2013

Brett Max Kaufman, "A Guide to What We Now Know About the NSA's Dragnet Searches of Your Communications," ACLU Blog, August 9, 2013.

Barton Gellman, "NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds," Washington Post, August 15, 2013.

Dave Davies, "Facial Recognition And Beyond: Journalist Ventures Inside China's 'Surveillance State'" NPR, January 5, 2021.

Paul Mozur, Adam Satariano, Aaron Krolik and Aliza Aufrichtig, "'They Are Watching': Inside Russia's Vast Surveillance State," New York Times, September 22, 2022.

Watch:"Life Inside China's Total Surveillance State," 8 min., Wall Street Journal, December 20, 2017.

Watch:"Surveillance State: Inside China's Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control," 83 min., Asia Society, September 14, 2022.

Watch:"How China Trains the World's Autocrats to Surveil Their People," 13 min., New York Times, April 24, 2019.

Watch: Frontline, "Global Spyware Scandal: Exposing Pegasus, Part One," 54 min., January 3, 2023, and "Global Spyware Scandal: Exposing Pegasus, Part Two," 54 min., January 10, 2023.

Amnesty International, "Israel/OPT: Israeli authorities are using facial recognition technology to entrench apartheid," Amnesty International News Blog, May 2, 2023.

Sheera Frenkel, "Israel Deploys Expansive Facial Recognition Program in Gaza," New York Times, March 27, 2024.


Amnesty International, "Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel system of domination and crime against humanity" Amnesty International Report MDE 15/5141/2022, February 1, 2022.

Watch:Laura Poitras, "Citizenfour," 114 min., 2014.

Peter Maass, "How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets," New York Times, August 13, 2013.

Peter Maass, "Q & A: Edward Snowden Talks to Peter Maass," New York Times, August 13, 2013.

Rachel Nolan, "Behind the Cover Story: Peter Maass on How He Got the Very Secret Laura Poitras to Open Up," New York Times, August 19, 2013.

Wikipedia, "National Security Agency"

Wikipedia, "PRISM (surveillance program)"

Wikipedia, "FISA Court"

James Bamford, "The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)," Wired, March 15, 2012.

Week 10: April 2
Project Drafts Due
AI & Deception: Part I


Heather Roff (2020) "AI Deception: When Your Artificial Intelligence Learns to Lie," IEEE Spectrum, February 24, 2020.

Pauwels, Eleonore and Sarah W. Deton (2020) "Hybrid Emerging Threats and Information Warfare: The Story of the Cyber-AI Deception Machine," from 21st Century Prometheus, M. Martinelli and R. Trapp (eds.), Springer, 2023, pp 107-124.

Tais Fernanda Blauth, Oskar Josef Gstrein, and Andrj Zwitter (2022) "Artificial Intelligence Crime: An Overview of Malicious Use and Abuse of AI," IEEE Access, Volume 10, 2023, pp. 77110-77122.

Isobel Butorac and Adrian Carter (2021) "The Coercive Potential of Digital Mental Health," The American Journal of Bioethics, 21:7, 2023, pp. 28-30.

Nathan Sanders and Bruce Schneier (2021) "Machine Learning Featurizations for AI Hacking of Political Systems," arXiv, 11 pgs.


Scott Anderson (2023) "Coercion," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Edward N. Zalta & Uri Nodelman (eds.), (Spring 2023 Edition).

Jane Mayer (2018) "How Russia Helped Swing the Election for Trump," New Yorker, September 24, 2018.

Watch: Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, "The Great Hack," Netflix, 2019, 114 minutes.

Week 11: April 9
AI & Deception: Part II


Watch: NOVA, A.I. Revolution, PBS, March 27, 2024, 54 min.

Zuboff, Shoshana (2021). "The coup we are not talking about," New York Times, January 29 2021.

Kamya Yadav, Samantha Lai (2024). "What Does Information Integrity Mean for Democracies?" Lawfare, Friday, March 22, 2024.

Charles Bethea (2024). "The Terrifying A.I. Scam That Uses Your Loved One's Voice," New Yorker, March 7, 2024.

Daniel Immerwahr (2023). "What the Doomsayers Get Wrong About Deepfakes," New Yorker, November 13, 2023.

Susser, Daniel, Beate Roessler, and Helen Nissenbaum (2019) "Technology, autonomy, and manipulation," Internet Policy Review, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 1-11.

Peter S. Park, Simon Goldstein, Aidan O'Gara, Michael Chen, Dan Hendrycks (2023) "AI Deception: A Survey of Examples, Risks, and Potential Solutions," arXiv.org, 26 pages.

Watch: Sasha Luccioni, AI Is Dangerous, but Not for the Reasons You Think, TED Talk, November 6, 2023, 10 min.

Watch: Jon Stewart, Jon Stewart On The False Promises of AI, Daily Show, April 1, 2024, 15 min.


Cade Metz and Tiffany Hsu (2024). "An A.I. Researcher Takes On Election Deepfakes," New York Times, April 2, 2024.

Watch: KARE 11, Testing the limits of ChatGPT and discovering a dark side, YouTube, February 15, 2023, 11 min.

Tuesday, April 16
Stimson Center Online Seminar (Zoom registration required)
Martyn Williams and Natalia Slavney, "Digital Surveillance in North Korea," April 16, 2024 9:00am ET

Week 12: April 16
AI Arms Races & Global AI Regulation


Andrew R. Chow and Billy Perrigo, "The AI Arms Race Is Changing Everything," Time, February 17, 2023.

Peter Asaro (2019). "What is an 'AI Arms Race' Anyway?," I/S: A Journal of Law for the Information Society, Vol. 15, No. 1-2 (Spring 2019), pp. 45-64.

Watch:"Is an AI Arms Race Underway?" 22 min., The Stream, Al Jazeera, June 6, 2023.

Watch: Deutsche Welle, AI supremacy: The artificial intelligence battle between China, USA and Europe, DW Documentary, March 16, 2024, 88 minutes.

Jeff Sommer, "How Silicon Chips Rule the World," The New York Times, September 9, 2022.

Joshua Kurlantzick, "How China Is Attempting to Control the ‘Information Pipes’," The Diplomat, March 03, 2023.

Watch:"AI War: Ukraine v Russia the dawn of a new arms race," 8 min., Channel 4 News, July 7, 2023.

Ryan Nabil (2024) "Global AI Governance and the United Nations," Yale Journal of International Affairs, February 2, 2024.

Markus Anderljung, Anton Korinek (2024) "Frontier AI Regulation: Safeguards Amid Rapid Progress," Lawfare, Thursday, January 4, 2024.

Watch: Deutsche Welle, EU lawmakers approve world's first legal framework on Artificial Intelligence, DW Documentary, March 13, 2024, 8 min.

Watch: Jon Stewart, Lina Khan – FTC Chair on Amazon Antitrust Lawsuit & AI Oversight, Daily Show, April 1, 2024, 21 min.


Watch: NOVA, A.I. Revolution, PBS, March 27, 2024, 54 min.

"Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence," The White House, October 30, 2023.

Kevin Roose, "How ChatGPT Kicked Off an A.I. Arms Race," New York Times, February 3, 2023.

Cade Metz, Karen Weise, Nico Grant and Mike Isaac, "Ego, Fear and Money: How the A.I. Fuse Was Lit," New York Times, December 3, 2023.

Watch:"The Future of War," 16 min., The Economist, July 4, 2023.

Michael Depp (2024) "The Next Step in Military AI Multilateralism," Lawfare, Tuesday, March 26, 2024.

Watch:New America, "Disruptive Military Innovation and the Fate of Great Powers," YouTube, March 22, 2024, 65 min.

Watch:"The Inside Story of the Global 5G Competition between the United States and China," US-China Dialogue on Global Issues, Georgetown University, July 30, 2020, 90 min.

Lewin Schmidt (2021) "Mapping global AI governance: a nascent regime in a fragmented landscape," AI and Ethics, August 17, 2021, Volume 2, pp. 303–314.

Week 13: April 23
Hacktivism 2.0


Reading (TNS e-reserves): Karagiannopoulos, V., 2021. A Short History of Hacktivism: Its Past and Present and What Can We Learn from It. In Rethinking Cybercrime (pp. 63-86). Palgrave Macmillan.

Karagiannopoulos, V., 2021. A Short History of Hacktivism: Its Past and Present and What Can We Learn from It. In Rethinking Cybercrime (pp. 63-86). Palgrave Macmillan.

Watch: The Hacktivist, Singularity University, 2023, 35 min.

Joy Neumeyer, 2024. "There Is Something Putin Can’t Control," New York Times, March 13 2024.

Zeynep Tufecki, Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest, Yale University Press, 2017.

Max Fisher, "Even as Iranians Rise Up, Protests Worldwide Are Failing at Record Rates," New York Times, September 30, 2022.

Scott Shane and Daisuke Wakabayashi, "'The Business of War': Google Employees Protest Work for the Pentagon," New York Times, April 4, 2018.

Google Employees, "Letter in Protest of Project Maven," 2018.

Letter From Academic Researchers in Support of Google Employees, "Google should withdraw from Project Maven and commit to not weaponizing its technology," ICRAC, May, 2018.

Lucy Suchman, Lilly Irani and Peter Asaro, "Google's March to the Business of War Must Be Stopped: We stand with thousands of Google employees, demanding an end to its contract with the US Department of Defense," Jacobin, May 16, 2018.

Kate Conger, "Google Employees Resign in Protest Against Pentagon Contract," Gizmodo, May 14, 2018.

Kate Conger, "Google Plans Not to Renew Its Contract for Project Maven, a Controversial Pentagon Drone AI Imaging Program," Gizmodo, June 1, 2018.

Polina Godz, "Tech Workers Versus the Pentagon: An Interview with Kim," Jacobin, June 6, 2018.

Bellingcat.com, The Home of Online Investigations.

Aric Toler, "Advanced Guide on Verifying Video Content," Bellingcat, June 30, 2017.

Watch: Raha Bahreini,"What Iran Did Not Want You to See," Video Op-ed, New York Times, December 2, 2019, 5 min.

Aric Toler, "Florida Trump Flash Mobs Organized by the Russian "Troll Factory," Bellingcat, September 20, 2017.


Yasmin Gagne, "How we fought our landlord's secretive plan for facial recognition-and won," Fast Comany, November 22, 2019.

Annalee Newitz, "A Better Social Media World Is Waiting for Us," New York Times, December 1, 2019.

Watch: "Battle for Hong Kong," PBS Frontline, 54 minutes, February 2, 2020.


Watch: Giorgio Angelini and Arthur Jones (2024) The Antisocial Network: Memes to Mayhem, Netflix, 85 min.

Watch: Frontline (2011) Revolution in Cairo, PBS, 60 min.

Philip N. Howard (2011) "Digital media and the Arab spring," Reuters, February 16, 2011.

Philip N. Howard (2010) "#IranElection: Inside the cyberwar for Iran's future." Miller-McCune Magazine. January-February 2010. pp. 28-33.

Jennifer Preston and Brian Stelter (2011) "Cellphones Become the World's Eyes and Ears on Protests," New York Times, February 18, 2011.

Wednesday, April 24
NYU Institute for Public Knowledge Lecture (In-person, registration required)
Gabriella Coleman, "Anonymous vs The Anonymous Far Right: Sense Making, Anonymity and The Politics of Image Board Cultures," IPK 20 Cooper Square, 5th floor, New York, NY, April 24, 2024 2:00-3:30pm ET

Week 14: April 30
Work on Final Projects

Week 15: May 7
Presentation of Final Projects

May 10
Final Projects Due by 8pm ET, Friday, May 10.