Public Communication and Armed Conflicts

Articles for Vol. 16, Issue 2 (Jul-Dec, 2023) + Open Section “Avances”
Public Communication and Armed Conflicts: The Role of Cognition and the Algorithm in Defense and National Security Environments

Cyberspace has established itself as a new environment of strategic relevance in fields such as geopolitics, economy, defense, and of course in the development of armed conflicts where a disruptive change has occurred both in the physical limits in which they develop, as well as with the ethical and legal judgment that they have deserved up to now.

New technologies have altered military tactics mainly in three aspects, namely: autonomous weapons systems, that is, remote warfare; the command and control of the conflict aided by predictive artificial intelligence; and the control of the social groups concerned through the new ICTs applied to the so-called cognitive field.

The algorithm has shaped a new battlefield with new rules and new possibilities for the contenders. Without physical borders or clear judicial demarcations, with an international regulation based for the moment on codes of good practice and responsible behavior. This is something that seems ironic when dealing with war issues.

Innovative tools such as the Internet, together with social media, have created a space where political legitimacy is created and a large part of the decisions are made, including military ones. These mechanisms, properly used in the cognitive field of the so-called cyber wars, will be the new weaponry with which it will be possible to subjugate enemy nations or groups without warfare or bloodshed once the support of public opinion has been won.

With these techniques, this type of confrontation could be avoided, since the same authorities, institutions, and opinion leaders of the enemy countries, once conveniently corrupted, can become network operators themselves, creating a political story with which dissent is eliminated, both through soft censorship (such as the imposition of political correctness and its agenda) and harsh censorship, such as information closure, deletion, denial of services and presence, fake news, hacker activism, cyber guerrilla or cyberwar. Thus, persuasion takes on special relevance in the field of military operations, of which Sun Tzu already spoke: “You have to subjugate the enemy without presenting a battle.”

Thus, the vulnerability that underlies these technologies is that if they are used perfidiously in the cognitive field, there is the possibility of turning democratic systems into virtual democracies disconnected from citizens, in which the truly important decisions would be taken by a technical elite, the specialists, with an unknown face, who would dominate the algorithms, designing them according to their particular ideology and sibylline vision of logic without the help of citizens turned into users.

In this call for papers, Disertaciones seeks original empirical articles that address moral, technical, or legal aspects of how States, or parastatal organizations, address the use of so-called new technologies in the cognitive field, that of persuasion and social engineering applied to armed conflicts and warlike emergencies. All of which does not exclude other proposals that deal with issues related to communication/cyber warfare/artificial intelligence, associated with Defense and the security of civilians.

As a guide, the following topics of interest are suggested:

  • Algorithms and war propaganda: moral and legal aspects.
  • Artificial Intelligence, new technologies, platforms for disseminating information and social communication: their influence in the field of Security and Defense.
  • The geopolitics of chips: new communication and information technologies and their influence on the arms industry.
  • New forms of control: Bots, Twitter, Facebook, and the censorship of the big news monopolies.
  • Serious social alterations and ethical codes of communication companies in the new secular religions: indigenism, environmentalism, immigration, politics as revealed truths, etc.
  • Cyberattacks on States and their psychosocial effects on the population
  • Ethics and legality of the control of society through algorithms, social engineering, and communication. Indignation, protest, and war.
  • State actors, cyberactivism, and new information technologies to modulate social perceptions and influence the opinion and reputation of States.
  • The polarization of discourse, through the algorithm, through social media and its influence on electoral processes, pre-war situations, or open wars.
  • State actors and the use of cyber mercenaries in social conflicts and live or latent armed conflicts.
  • The polarization of discourse through social networks and its influence on electoral processes, pre-war situations, or open wars.
  • Algocracy, public communication, and military forces.
  • Hacker activism, fake news, cyber communication, and the new cyber warriors in the next cyber cold war.
  • Cyberwar, National Security, strategic communication, and its legislation.
  • Armed conflicts, Spanish Armed Forces, and their public information units. The Public Information Regiment.
  • Use of artificial intelligence and public communication in the prevention and response to disaster or emergencies.
  • Internet, social media, and protection of the civilian population in disaster situations, war emergencies.
  • The universalization of journalism in emergencies. From war correspondents to the immediacy of YouTube.

NOTE: This journal provides free and immediate access to your content. This means that no fees are charged to authors for their article’s processing, evaluation, and publication.

Deadline: September 30th, 2022.

Coordinated by Ángel Ibáñez ((angelip2003 /at/