"It’s not another nation or other people, it’s war itself that is the enemy". This statement of Joseph Weizenbaum originates from an interview conducted in June 2003 (Weizenbaum, 2003), in which he talked about worldwide mass demonstrations against the Iraq war. Twenty years later, war is still prevalent (and has returned to the heart of Europe), and questions of how to return to peaceful conflict resolution or avoid the outbreak of violence from the outset are as pressing as ever. In this context, Joseph Weizenbaum highlighted the responsibility of science and scientists, in particular their obligation to consider the consequences of their work on the lives of people and our societies.
In recent years, conflicts have changed through the increasing digitization of the battlefield and novel technical capabilities like autonomous and “intelligent” weapons. With social media in particular and the internet in general, the means for propaganda and disinformation have gained significant effectiveness along with new attack vectors to critical infrastructure.
At the same time, digitalization has also facilitated new and powerful counter-strategies against oppression, propaganda, and war. Encrypted networks allow journalists and dissidents to cooperate safely, and constant threats in cyberspace have motivated making critical infrastructure more resilient against attacks. Further, apps and digital networks can mobilize help during crises, and online environments still can provide a space for sharing information and peaceful conflict resolution. Migration and social inclusion have been also transformed by digital capabilities, with digital means allowing those escaping the war zone to get and share relevant information on their journey towards safety, and beyond.
For this special issue of the WJDS, which commemorates the 100th birthday of Joseph Weizenbaum, we invite papers that can contribute to our understanding of the role of digitalization in conflicts, war, and peace-building. The following list of topics is not exhaustive, and other submissions linked to the issues of digitalization in and for peace and war are highly welcome:
Contributions are invited in a two-stage process:
Please submit your abstracts and papers via the submission page and follow the instructions thoroughly. Please visit the journal website for further information on the Weizenbaum Journal of the Digital Society and requirements/guidelines for paper submission.