China is Selling Autonomous Killer Drones to Middle East

November 11, 2019 at 5:10 pm

We are now living in the era of flying “killer robots” armed with AK 47s and facial recognition technology

China is now selling artificially intelligent drones capable of taking human life with little or no human oversight, according to U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

“As we speak, the Chinese government is already exporting some of its most advanced military aerial drones to the Middle East,” Esper said at the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence on Nov. 5.

The drones are “advertised as capable of full autonomy, including the ability to conduct lethal targeted strikes.”

The Blowfish A3, for example, is marketed as being able to carry multiple types of machine guns, fly without human operators and “engage the target autonomously.”

“This news means we’re finally, and unfortunately, living in the era of killer robots,” writes Dan Robitzki for

People take part in a demonstration as part of the campaign “Stop Killer Robots” organised by German NGO “Facing Finance” to ban what they call killer robots on March 21, 2019 in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. – The campaign to “Stop Killer Robots” is a global coalition of 82 international, regional, and NGOs in 35 countries that asks for a ban on lethal fully autonomous weapons. (Photo by Wolfgang Kumm / dpa / AFP) / Germany OUT (Photo credit should read WOLFGANG KUMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Technically, “killer robots don’t exist yet, but what we see is a trend towards increasing autonomy,” Daan Kayser of the European peace organization PAX told Time Magazine.

“We’re very close to crossing that line, and a lot of the projects that countries are working on — of course they don’t say they’re going to be killer robots. But if we see terms like ‘autonomy in targeting’ — that’s getting very close.”

In addition to flying drones, Chinese companies are selling unmanned ground vehicles with machine guns, rocket launchers, and “near autonomous features,” Kayser said.

And by sea, Chinese military researchers are building unmanned submarines. The classified 912 Project hopes to develop underwater robots over the next few years.

More recently, China has been testing satellite SJ-17, which can move with precision at altitudes of 22,000 miles above Earth at tens of thousands of miles per hour, Time reports.

“They possess the kinetic potency to shatter anything in their path, essentially acting as kamikazes against another country’s satellite.”

The United States is racing to keep up with China’s technology.

“Essentially you have two sides that are worried about the other gaining an advantage,” Peter Singer, a specialist on 21st century warfare tells Time. “That then has the ironic result of them both plowing resources into it, competing against each other, and becoming less secure.”

“An AI arms race would have no winners,” Kayser noted.