Governments and militaries across the globe are stockpiling cheap Chinese combat drones and deploying them on the battlefield, leading to fears of mass mortality.
The Asian superpower is reportedly selling AI-enhanced combat drones to authorities across the world from Saudi Arabia to Myanmar and Iraq to Ethiopia, according to Al Jazeera.
But in and around the Middle East is where fears that "every human on the battlefield will be dead" are most rife.
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Recently, a Saudi-led coalition dispatched the Chinese aircraft in Yemen as part of a devastating air campaign that has killed more than 8,000 Yemeni civilians in the past eight years.
In Iraq by January this year, Chinese droneshad carried out more than 260 air raids against ISIS targets as of mid-2018, with a success rate of nearly 100 percent according to Al Jazeera.
But Professor Toby Walsh, of the University of NSW, in Australia, thinks their power is too much, and worries what bad actors might do with them.
He said in late 2019: “They would be impossible to defend yourself against. Once the shooting starts, every human on the battlefield will be dead.”
Former US Defence Sec Mark Esper has said that China is selling drones programmed to decide themselves who lives or dies.
He told a conference on Artificial Intelligence: “As we speak, the Chinese government is already exporting some of its most advanced military aerial drones to the Middle East as it prepares to export its next generation stealth UAVs when those come online.
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“In addition, Chinese weapons manufacturers are selling drones advertised as capable of full autonomy including the ability to conduct lethal, targeted strikes.”
Dr Malcolm Davis, an Australian Strategic Policy Institute analyst says that it is not strange there is no debate over the sales in China.
He reportedly said: “This isn’t a surprise. “Authoritarian adversaries do not need to conduct the same domestic debate on lethal autonomous weapons as western liberal democracies, because they are not answerable to their people.
“There is no ‘ban killer robots’ movement in China or Russia. The regimes are simply developing and deploying the weapons – and in this case – exporting them to similar regimes in the Middle East.”
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