VIPRE-Tech

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The VIPRE-Tech project is an under-development extension of the VIPRE Initiative. VIPRE-Tech seeks to combine the insights of natural, applied, and social scientific inquiry in order to apply the theories of violence prevention developed during the VIPRE Initiative. Specifically, it seeks to develop an autonomous detention monitoring solution with the potential to significantly reduce instances of violent abuses of human rights and humanitarian law. It does so by combining social scientific, philosophy of mind, and neuroscientific insights into the cognitive processes and practical sequences of action leading to abuse with a series of emergent and cross-disciplinary technological innovations to produce a materialistic mode of preventing violent abuse. This mode of prevention focuses on the fact that norm-discordant events like violent abuse typically occur “when a subject’s environment is unstable, atypical, or undesirable… or when a subject is reality-inattentive in certain ways” (Gendler 2008, 554). Indeed, a growing literature suggests that the ‘materiality’ of the situations or environments in which people find themselves can often drive unintentional, non-reflexive, and/or unconscious behaviours (Latour 1999, Clegg et al. 2013, Cunha, Clegg, and Rego 2014, Austin 2016b, Gino and Desai 2012). Improving the stability of the material environments in which security forces operate thus has the potential to substantially reduce instances of abuse, as recorded in domestic policing in Europe and the USA (National Defense Intelligence College 2006). Indeed, evidence suggests that detention monitoring through electronic means (i.e. cameras) is an especially effective means of altering human behaviour in positive ways.

The draft proposal is below. Please send comments to jonathan.austin@iheid.ch or have them ready at the next project meeting.