February 1, 2019
Through the weaponization of social media, the internet is changing war and politics, just as war and politics are changing the internet. Terrorists livestream their attacks, “Twitter wars” produce real‑world casualties, and viral misinformation alters not just the result of battles, but the very fate of nations. The result is that war, tech, and politics have blurred into a new kind of battlespace that plays out on our smartphones.
P. W. Singer and Emerson Brooking tackle the mind‑bending questions that arise when war goes online and the online world goes to war. They explore how ISIS copies the Instagram tactics of Taylor Swift, a former World of Warcraft addict foils war crimes thousands of miles away, internet trolls shape elections, and China uses a smartphone app to police the thoughts of 1.4 billion citizens. What can be kept secret in a world of networks? Does social media expose the truth or bury it? And what role do ordinary people now play in international conflicts?
Delving into the web’s darkest corners, we meet the unexpected warriors of social media, such as the rapper turned jihadist PR czar and the Russian hipsters who wage unceasing infowars against the West. Finally, looking to the crucial years ahead, LikeWar outlines a radical new paradigm for understanding and defending against the unprecedented threats of our networked world.
Peter Warren Singer is Strategist at New America and an editor at Popular Science magazine. He has been named by the Smithsonian as one of the nation’s 100 leading innovators, by Defense News as one of the 100 most influential people in defense issues, by Foreign Policy to their Top 100 Global Thinkers List, as an official “Mad Scientist” for the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, and by Onalytica social media data analysis as one of the ten most influential voices in the world on cybersecurity and 25th most influential in the field of robotics. Peter’s award winning books include Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry, Children at War, Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century; and Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know and Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War, a technothriller crossed with nonfiction research, which has been endorsed by people who range from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to the co-inventor of the Internet to the writer of HBO Game of Thrones. His latest book is LikeWar (Oct 2018, HMH), which explores how social media has changed war and politics, and war and politics has changed social media. It was named an Amazon book of the year, a NY Times “new and notable,” and reviewed by Booklistas “LikeWar should be required reading for everyone living in a democracy and all who aspire to.”
His past work include serving at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Harvard University, and as the founding director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings, where he was the youngest person named senior fellow in its 100 year history.