In March 2021, the UN Security Council's panel of experts on Libya published a hair-raising report mentioning what is believed to be the first time a drone attacked a human target without human input.
The report refers to a March 2020 attack carried out in Libya with a Turkish-made quad-copter military attack drone.
According to the New York Post, the UN had formed a commission to stop the spread and use of these Terminator-like killer machines.
The commission, however, was shut down in the year 2018.
The drone incident in question occurred "during a conflict between Libyan government forces and a breakaway military faction led by Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army. The Kargu-2 is fitted with an explosive charge and the drone can be directed at a target in a kamikaze attack, detonating on impact," according to the report published in the New Scientist magazine and the Star. "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," the report notes.
This report raises more questions than it gives answers, since at this time nobody is really sure whether the drones were left in this special autonomous mode with the intention of attacking human targets or not.
"This does not show that autonomous weapons would be impossible to regulate, but it does show that the discussion continues to be urgent and important. The technology isn't going to wait for us," said Jack Watling of the Royal United Services Institute, a military think tank.
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