Welcome to the Words After War Weekly Round-Up: “Technology” Edition. In this space we share links relevant to our mission of improving the military-civilian dialogue through high-quality literary programming.
There has always been a tension between those who see technology as progress and those who see it as a threat. After decades of rapid technological advancement, we can easily argue that our soldiers are now far more capable and our information is far more readily available than ever before. And yet, paradoxically, with such increased access to information the core of culture – art, literature, classical music – has been overshadowed by, or even forgotten because of, modern machinery and advanced technology.
Often, I wonder how I ever lived without my modern tech devices, but I also wonder if these things are actually doing anything to improve my life, or the lives of others. Rather than experience the world for what it is, many of us attempt to document each second of it on our four-inch screens.
In honor of this fundamental tension between technological progress and a desire to preserve the good ole’ days, I present the following links from the week.
Here we go.
- I bet he didn’t have an iPhone. A Japanese army officer who hid in the jungles of the Philippines fighting World War II until 1974 has died at the age of 91.
- Advance! In an article for Foreign Policy, Peter Singer and Allan Friedman compare the logic of a first-strike advantage in cyber war to the misguided belief in offensive advantage prior to World War I.
- You won’t believe what happens next. What if classic book titles were rewritten to be like Upworthy headlines and optimized to get the most clicks?
- Advance? The Awl wonders when machines will really be able to predict bestsellers.
- Speaking of machines. Facing tighter budget constraints, the Army is considering replacing thousands of soldiers with robots.
- But war is still human. Marine Corps veteran Eliot Ackerman’s fascinating piece in The Daily Beast about his lunch with a jihadi fighter in a Syrian refugee camp.
- And hard to let go. A New York Times article looks at how the Army is adapting to garrison life as the war in Afghanistan continues to draw down.
Have a great weekend.