The Harvard Law School Library staff invites you to attend a book talk and panel discussion in celebration of Professor Gabriella Blum’s recently published book with Benjamin Wittes, The Future of Violence: Robots and Germs, Hackers and Drones? — Confronting A New Age of Threat.
Gabriella Blum is the Rita E. Hauser Professor of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at Harvard Law School, specializing in public international law, international negotiations, the law of armed conflict, and counterterrorism. She is also the Co-Director of the HLS-Brookings Project on Law and Security and a member of the Program on Negotiation Executive Board.
Prior to joining the Harvard faculty in the fall of 2005, Blum served for seven years as a Senior Legal Advisor in the International Law Department of the Military Advocate General’s Corps in the Israel Defense Forces, and for another year, as a Strategy Advisor to the Israeli National Security Council.
Blum is the author of Islands of Agreement: Managing Enduring Armed Rivalries, (Harvard University Press, 2007), and of Laws, Outlaws, and Terrorists (MIT Press, 2010) (co-authored with Philip Heymann and recipient of the Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize), as well as of journal articles in the fields of public international law and the law and morality of war.
Benjamin Wittes is senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution and the editor-in-chief of Lawfare.
Wednesday April 1, 2015, 12:00 noon.
Harvard Law School, Room WCC 2012. (Directions).
Sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library.
Lunch will be served.
“From drone warfare in the Middle East to digital spying by the National Security Agency, the U.S. government has harnessed the power of cutting-edge technology to awesome effect. But what happens when ordinary people have the same tools at their fingertips? Advances in cybertechnology, biotechnology, and robotics mean that more people than ever before have access to potentially dangerous technologies—from drones to computer networks and biological agents—which could be used to attack states and private citizens alike.
In The Future of Violence, law and security experts Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum detail the myriad possibilities, challenges, and enormous risks present in the modern world, and argue that if our national governments can no longer adequately protect us from harm, they will lose their legitimacy. Consequently, governments, companies, and citizens must rethink their security efforts to protect lives and liberty. In this brave new world where many little brothers are as menacing as any Big Brother, safeguarding our liberty and privacy may require strong domestic and international surveillance and regulatory controls. Maintaining security in this world where anyone can attack anyone requires a global perspective, with more multinational forces and greater action to protect (and protect against) weaker states who do not yet have the capability to police their own people. Drawing on political thinkers from Thomas Hobbes to the Founders and beyond, Wittes and Blum show that, despite recent protestations to the contrary, security and liberty are mutually supportive, and that we must embrace one to ensure the other.
The Future of Violence is at once an introduction to our emerging world—one in which students can print guns with 3-D printers and scientists’ manipulations of viruses can be recreated and unleashed by ordinary people—and an authoritative blueprint for how government must adapt in order to survive and protect us.” — Basic Books
Book talk panelists include:
Professor Yochai Benkler, Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman Professor for Entrepreneurial Legal Studies and Faculty Co-Director, Berkman Center for Internet and Society
Professor Jack Goldsmith, Henry L. Shattuck Professor of Law
Professor Jonathan Zittrain, Bemis Professor of International Law, Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources, Faculty Director, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Professor of Computer Science, Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Professor, Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government
“[An] ambitious…treatise regarding a particular terror of modern life: the increasing ubiquity of potential harm spawned by technological transformations…. The authors raise fascinating questions…. A thoughtful…Cassandra warning of great vulnerabilities disguised as gifts.”
Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America
“A book that manages to meld Hobbes, James Bond, science fiction, and Supreme Court decisions is a rare read. All the more impressive when it takes a complex set of urgent questions about the intersection of technology, security, and liberty, and offers insights and at least the beginnings of answers. Violence will be always with us, but its forms are changing in ways that challenge our ability to respond to and regulate it.”
Bruce Schneier, author of Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World
“Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum have written a compelling and provocative book about an important topic we have not adequately faced: managing catastrophic risk in a technologically advanced society. I strongly recommend this book even for people who will not agree with the authors’ conclusions.”
Matthew Olsen, former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center
“Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum provide a compelling and sobering argument that the rapid advancement and proliferation of new technologies—from cyber to biotech to robotics—have fundamentally altered our security. We face the prospect of a Hobbesian state of nature, where each individual is at once a figure of great power and great vulnerability. In this indispensable book, Wittes and Blum then tackle the staggering implications: What does this mean for the social contract between citizen and state and our traditional notions of liberty, privacy, and security? In short, can the modern state keep us safe?”