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An autonomous drone hunted down and engaged Libyan soldiers without any human intervention

This is the first ever reported autonomous drone attack.

chinese military drone
Image: Xinhua

Artificial intelligence has been a topic of some pretty major dispute over the last few years. As technology continues to improve exponentially, many people are questioning the ethics and sustainability behind such drastic machine learning. A new report of what is being hailed as the first autonomous drone attack has surfaced, reconfirming some of those concerns.

A report from the UN Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Libya details an attack from March of last year in which a drone is thought to have acted autonomously. The report even goes as far as saying the drone hunted and attacked its targets all on its own without any human intervention.

The attack mentioned above took place in March 2020 in Libya. At the time, the country was in the middle of a civil war, with its neighbor, Turkey, being directly involved. Turkish forces deployed an STM Kargu-2 autonomous drone. The drone then found and attacked Libyan forces, some of whom were retreating.

“Logistics convoys and retreating HAF (Haftar Armed Forces) were subsequently hunted down and remotely engaged by the unmanned combat aerial vehicles or the lethal autonomous weapons systems such as the STM Kargu-2 (see annex 30) and other loitering munitions. The lethal autonomous weapons systems were programmed to attack targets without requiring data connectivity between the operator and the munition: in effect, a true “fire, forget and find” capability”

This is the first time something like this has ever been recorded. Governments and weapon manufacturers have been experimenting with AI weapons for years, but this is the first report that points to an autonomous drone used in combat.

This seems like a pretty sketchy dystopian nightmare situation. We’ve all seen the movies where machines take over and bend humanity to their will. But I don’t think many of us thought we’d see something like this actually happen. The fact that a weapon like this even exists is another example of humans being our own worst enemies.

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