DPhil (Oxford – due for completion 2017)
Integrating social, philosophical, and technical approaches, my work aims to enhance and enrich conventional understandings and practices of cybersecurity by locating them within a broader problem space inherent in contemporary technological globalization and hyper-industrialization.
For me, cybersecurity is about our inhabitation of spaces of all different scales that are structured, governed, and constantly re-tooled by machine technologies and their accumulated and re-appropriated informational outputs – the global membranes of connection and communication.
Framing cyber and its securities as a distinctly transnational and increasingly ubiquitous series of phenomena, my research is about the pressing need to rethink how social, political, and ecological relations are comprised and coordinated for the sake of future cohesion and stability. This raises unprecedented and entwined governance, engineering, and ethical challenges across overlapping ecologies of individuals, communities, and the environment.
My main research interests are about how management and sustainability are achieved through this rapidly emerging reality of co-fragility. In particular, I am concerned with our understanding of how the future is created through the design politics of the contemporary, this being the landscape of policy, action and sensibility that we must navigate.
My project current develops a ‘cybersecurity anthropotechnics’: a theoretical and political sensibility towards the ubiquitous integration of humans and digital machines. It considers how humans and technics are essentially entangled, how cyber-technics inform and shape our social imaginary and technological anticipations, how the securities of cyber are broad civilizational and existential issues, and how this genuinely holistic view of cybersecurity requires a comprehensive orientation towards stability, sustainability, and security to address and inform design decisions that will shape our future.
Cybersecurity anthropotechnics therefore focuses on how we might better consider the constitutive effect of this digital integration process on humanity, so both philosophically and methodologically it draws on a liberal arts approach of ‘encircling’ the problem using analytic tools that cross the rigid boundaries of disciplines.
There are four key themes to my current work: 1) immunology, which draws on the work of Peter Sloterdijk and Bernard Stiegler to form an onto-political position concerning the formation of humanity through and with technics; 2) the android imagination, which concerns how technics flourish as aspects of modern social imaginaries, with particular emphasis on the figure of the android, or artificial person; 3) the Technosphere, which examines the contemporary planetary reality and world-view of technology, especially the techno-scene, the political-ethical realm of speculation and debate; 4) futurity, which concerns the design ethics for the future, and our need for strategic and pragmatic approaches to the integration of humans and digital machines.
Mellor, D. (2017, forthcoming) ‘Should Robots Commit Crimes?’ British Society of Criminology, Cardiff University, 17th May
Mellor, D. (2017, forthcoming) ‘Cybersecurity Anthropotechnics: Engaging with the World-Size Robot’, Anthrobotics Research Group, University of Edinburgh, 3rd March
Mellor, D. (2016) ‘Cybersecurity and the growth of the technosphere’, Where are we now? Temporalities of Globalisation conference, University of Amsterdam, 15th December
Mellor, D. (2016) ‘Meat the machines: hopes and fears’ AHRC Being Human Festival, De Montfort University, Leicester, 18th November
Mellor, D. (2016) ‘Fallen robots and the android imagination’, Fantasies of Contemporary Culture symposium, School of English, Communication and Philosophy, Cardiff University, 23rd May
Mellor, D. (2016) ‘In the cyber war to come, your face will be a weapon’, Fiction and the Social Imaginary conference, Department of Sociology, University of York, 14th March
Mellor, D. (2015) ‘Speculative cybersecurity and the future defence of virtual worlds’, Cyber Security workshop, University of Warwick, 14th October
Mellor, D. (2015) ‘When humanity is enslaved, don’t say I didn’t warn you’, Early Career Research Symposium, Cyber Security Oxford, 1st October
Mellor, D. (2015) ‘Cybersecurity and Philosophy: New problems and concepts’, Public Research Showcase, CDT Oxford, 30th September
Mellor, D. (2015) ‘”Hello World”: The future of humans, computers and machines’, Cheltenham Science Festival, 12th June
Mellor, D. (2015) ‘What if robots are our future?’ Cheltenham Science Festival, 12th June
Mellor, D. (2015) ‘Science Fictions and Network Aesthetics’, Human Centred Computing Group Conference, Department of Computer Science, Oxford University, 15th January
British Sociological Association
EPSRC funded DPhil ‘Cybersecurity anthropotechnics’ 2013-2017, Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford
Areas of Expertise
Social and ethical implications of technological development
Responsible research and innovation
Politics, policies, and orientations towards the future
Science fiction and the technological imagination
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