War 2.0: drones, distance and death

Jai Galliott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Technology has always allowed agents of war to separate themselves from the harm that they or their armed forces inflict, with spears, bows and arrows, trebuchets, cannons, firearms and other modern weaponry, all serving as examples of technologies that have increased the distance between belligerents and supposedly made warfare less sickening than the close-quarters combat of the past. However, this paper calls into question the extent to which new military technologies actually mitigate the savagery of war. It contends that with the introduction of technologies that eliminate the need for a human presence on the battlefield, we are the cusp of a major revolution in warfare that presents new challenges and questions for military technoethics, namely as to how soldiers should conduct themselves and fight justly, if they are to do so at all. Ultimately, it argues that only way to address these issues is through the design of the mediating technologies themselves, which is by no means an easy task.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-76
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Technoethics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Drones
  • Emotion
  • Ethical governor
  • Just war theory
  • Killer robots
  • Military ethics
  • PTSD
  • Targeted killing
  • Unmanned systems


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