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Deciding on Choice: Cybersecurity, Politics and (Cyber)War - 7 November 2019

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Lilly Pijnenburg Muller, PhD Candidate in the Department of War Studies and co-convenor of the Cybersecurity Research Group will function as discussant.

Artificial intelligence will solve cybersecurity! It is an existential threat! It will make better decisions for us!

That is at least what we are commonly told.

In this talk, I instead unpick why we talk of decision-making in machine learning, its inherent failings, and the implications of this for the future of cybersecurity. To do so, I develop on my doctoral work on malware to explore the intricacies of choice-making in computation as one of its core foundations. I argue that we must see malware – and other computational architectures – as political and active negotiators in the formation of (in)security.

This means our contemporary notions of weapon and (cyber)war sit on shaky foundations in an age which is experiencing an explosion in computational choice. We have to decide on the role of choice in our societies, what makes something ‘political’, and what happens when we have alternative cognitive human and computational registers working together, on parallel and increasingly divergent paths.

Dr. Andrew Dwyer is a research associate at the University of Bristol as well as a research affiliate at the Centre for Technology and Global Affairs and recently completed a DPhil (PhD) in Cyber Security, both at the University of Oxford. His research focuses on malware, machine learning, and computation through assessing the role of (computational) choice, intention, and decision in security. In his doctoral thesis, “Malware Ecologies: A Politics of Cybersecurity”, he argues for a re-evaluation of the role of computational actors in the production and negotiation of security, and what this means for human-centred notions of ‘cyber-weapons’ and ‘cyber-warfare’ through an (auto)ethnographic exploration of a malware analysis laboratory.

Previously, Andrew has been a visiting fellow at the German ‘Dynamics of Security’ collaborative research centre based between Philipps-Universität Marburg, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen and the Herder Institute, Marburg. Andrew also worked at the management consultancy, Accenture and received his bachelor’s degree in Geography from Durham University, UK. Visit him at

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Event details

7 November 2019

Strand Campus, London