Brian Sudlow is lecturer in French with translation studies at Aston University in Birmingham, United Kingdom. He is the author of Catholic Literature and Secularisation in France and England 1880–1914 (2011) and the editor of National Identities in France (2011). He has written about a number of European thinkers, including René Girard, Régis Debray, Dietrich von Hildebrand, and Giorgio Agamben. His most recent work concerns the tradition of technopessimism among twentieth-century French intellectuals, of whom Paul Virilio is only the latest in a long and distinguished line.
José Padilha’s new RoboCop (2014) film can be read in the light of Paul Virilio’s theoretical work, notably Desert Screen. RoboCop serves as the city’s warrior but also as a munition in the hands of global media forces. Still, even if the film presents the fallibility of robotic technology, its true failure is in sustaining the progressivist myth of technology perfectly under human control.