Autonomous drones may have ‘chased’ and attacked Libyan forces without human control – UN report
The United Nations reports that drones armed with explosive devices may have “chased” rebel fighters fleeing Libya last year. If true, the report records the world’s first real robot attack.
Autonomous Drones May Have
According to the report, fighters of the opposition Libyan National Army withdrew in March of last year under the leadership of military commander Khalifa Haftar after facing a terrifying swarm of air enemies after a failed attack on Tripoli.
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They were “hunted down” by drones and “lethal autonomous weapons systems”. The latter can be programmed so that the controller searches for and attacks the target and executes these instructions even if communication with the controller is lost.
The report continues that Haftar’s fighters “were not trained or motivated to prevent the effective use of this new technology and are usually confused and withdrawn.” They were “continually harassed” by the killer robot during the retreat.
It is not known whether the drone was in contact with a human controller during these reported attacks, or whether it was the direct cause of casualties or deaths. The scenarios described in the report can be intimidating milestones if they operate independently. First recorded case of truly autonomous robots attacking humans on the battlefield. However, the report does not specify what level of autonomy the robot has been working on.
Drones are known as “roving munitions” and are quadcopter-type vehicles equipped with cameras and small explosive devices. Left in the area of operations, they mark targets, dive from the air and explode on impact. The device identified in Libya was a roving “Kargu-2” military element deployed on the Libyan battlefield by UN-backed Turkish forces allied with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord.
The book notes that their publication violates a 2011 United Nations Security Council resolution that prohibits member states from engaging in the “direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer” of arms to the country.
Analysts have been anticipating the transition to autonomous weapons for years, and there are growing calls to ban such devices. Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a coalition of peace activists, scientists, scientists and politicians, is calling for the United Nations to adopt an international ban.
“Current machine learning-based systems cannot effectively distinguish between farmers and soldiers,” security analyst Zachary Karenborn wrote in the Bulletin of Nuclear Scientists last week. “Peasants may have guns to protect their lands, but soldiers may use shovels to demolish towers… Various factors may prevent accurate decisions being made.”
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