“This is probably the first time a robot has autonomously attacked
and killed human beings.”
— Ed Nash’s Military Matters
Anybody who is familiar with the
historical fiction science fiction Terminator series knows that the shit hit the fan when the AI network Skynet became self-aware. Humans tried to shut it down; Skynet fought back and… welcome to the apocalypse.
I asserted to friends over many, many beers that in the time-loop we were in, The Terminator may have been classified as science fiction, but was actually historical fiction recounting events that had already happened. And they thought I was kidding.…
Well… the UN reports that an autonomous attack drone has been used in Libya.
From Popular Mechanics:
The world’s first recorded case of an autonomous drone attacking humans took place in March 2020, according to a United Nations (UN) security report detailing the ongoing Second Libyan Civil War. Libyan forces used the Turkish-made drones to “hunt down” and jam retreating enemy forces, preventing them from using their own drones.
The field report (via New Scientist) describes how the Haftar Affiliated Forces (HAF), loyal to Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, came under attack by drones from the rival Government of National Accord (GNA) forces. After a successful drive against HAF forces, the GNA launched drone attacks to press its advantage. From the report:
Logistics convoys and retreating HAF 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 (above) 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.
Here’s a good analysis.
Skynet is going to become self-aware at any moment now. Sarah Connor, where are you?