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  • 1.
    Giacomello, Giampiero
    et al.
    University of Bologna, Italy.
    Eriksson, Johan
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Political Science.
    Rise of the Nerd: Knowledge, Power and International Relations in a Digital World2023In: Digital International Relations: Technology, Agency and Order / [ed] Corneliu Bjola; Markus Kornprobst, London: Routledge, 2023Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This chapter addresses the rise of the ‘computer nerd’ – a powerful yet under-researched actor in International Relations (IR). Software programmers, algorithm writers, Artificial Intelligence (AI) designers, digital network engineers, computer system administrators and other ‘computer nerds’ have tremendous power in the global information society. These types of experts and epistemic communities design, build, develop, monitor, augment and analyse computer networks, algorithms and ‘Big Data’ upon which contemporary politics, civil society and economies depend. We contend that the computer nerd stereotype – variously anchored to some degree in empirics, reputation and celebration as stereotypes typically are – has significant power in shaping global information society, something which begs scrutiny of this type of actor in IR. The type of expert power maintained by computer nerds is primarily of a system-shaping rather than relational kind. This system-shaping power consists of three subsets of nerd power: ‘design power’ that shapes the digital platforms and applications used by individuals and organisations; ‘connecting power’ that shapes the networks which allow real-time communication and digitalisation of infrastructure; and ‘analytical power’ which controls and produces knowledge of the digital world, including the increasing use of ‘Big Data’.

  • 2.
    Giacomello, Giampiero
    et al.
    University of Bologna, Italy.
    Eriksson, Johan
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Political Science.
    Giumelli, Francesco
    University of Groningen, Netherlands.
    Sources of strength: the European defence industry in a disorderly world2023In: Defence Studies, ISSN 1470-2436, E-ISSN 1743-9698, Vol. 23, no 4, p. 527-530Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 3.
    Newlove-Eriksson, Lindy
    et al.
    Royal Institute of Technology / Swedish Defence University.
    Giacomello, Giampiero
    University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.
    Eriksson, Johan
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Political Science.
    The Invisible Hand? Critical Information Infrastructures, Commercialisation and National Security2018In: The International Spectator: Italian Journal of International Affairs, ISSN 0393-2729, E-ISSN 1751-9721, Vol. 53, no 2, p. 124-140Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Corporatisation of critical information infrastructure (CII) is rooted in the ‘privatisation wave’ of the 1980s-90s, when ground was laid for outsourcing public utilities. Despite well-known risks relating to reliability, resilience, and accountability, commitment to efficiency imperatives have driven governments to outsource key public services and infrastructures. A recent illustrative case with enormous implications is the 2017 Swedish ICT scandal, where outsourcing of CII caused major security breaches. With the transfer of the Swedish Transport Agency’s ICT system to IBM and subcontractors, classified data and protected identities were made accessible to non-vetted foreign private employees – the sensitive data could thus now be anywhere. This case clearly demonstrates accountability gaps that can arise in public-private governance of CII.

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