The Kargu-2, a lethal attack drone, autonomously ‘hunted down’ and attacked a person during a conflict in Libya in 2020. According to a recent UN report on the incident, this is likely the first time that drones have attacked humans in this way, without instructions to do so, or a human operator controlling them.
This highlights the alarming consequences of the current lack of regulation around using ‘killer robots’ and the ensuing fast pace of development of autonomous weapons with ‘fire, forget and find’ capability that could rapidly transform warfare and the capabilities of terrorist groups. Military researchers are calling for urgent and important discussion of regulation, and Human Rights Watch is calling for a preemptive ban. Time is running out for such a intervention -will this incident focus minds?