In this week's episode, Alice interviews two well-known authors and policy advisers on Future warfare: Peter Warren Singer and August Cole.
Peter is a Strategist at New America, Professor of Practice at Arizona State University and Principal at Useful Fiction LLC – a network of creators, thinkers and artists, who explore the potential of fiction and other media to forecast future trends. He has served as a consultant for the US Military, Intelligence Community, and FBI, and he sits on the US Military’s Transformation Advisory Group and NATO’s Innovation Advisory Board, among other roles. He is the author of a number of best-selling books, including Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry, Wired for War , Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know and LikeWar, which explores how social media has changed war and politics, and war and politics has changed social media.
August is also a Principal at Useful Fiction and an author who explores the future of conflict through “FICINT” [Fictional Intelligence] storytelling. His talks, short stories, and workshops have taken him from speaking at the Nobel Institute in Oslo to lecturing at West Point. August is a non-resident fellow at the Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Creativity at Marine Corps University and a non-resident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center on Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. From 2014-17 he directed the Council’s Art of Future Warfare Project, which explored creative works for insight into the future of conflict. August is a regular speaker to private sector, academic and US and allied government audiences. He also leads the Strategy team for the Warring With Machines AI ethics project at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo. With Peter, August is the co-author of the best-seller Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War (2015) and Burn In: A Novel of the Real Robotic Revolution (2020).
In the podcast, we discuss traditional methods of visualising future warfare; what 'useful fiction' can contribute in this space; the use of history in future-focused storytelling; and the capacity of stories (one of the oldest tools in the world) to shine a spotlight on blindspots and to raise uncomfortable questions, while engaging a wide range of readers in important conversations about the future. We dive into Ghost Fleet in particular, and also August's short story ANTFARM.
We hope you enjoy the episode. For a version of our podcast with close captions, please use this link. For more information about individuals and their projects, please visit the University of St Andrews Visualising War website.
Music composed by Jonathan Young
Sound mixing by Zofia Guertin