A top nuclear scientist from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), part of Iran's military service, was assassinated on November 27. The Iranian government says it was an assassination attempt using AI technology.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed while traveling in an escort outside Tehran. According to reports, a Nissan truck equipped with a machine gun "caught" the escort and opened fire. Shortly afterwards, the truck exploded.
According to one Publication According to the Iranian state news agency Tasnim News Agency, the deputy commander of the IRGC, Ali Fadavi, said: "No killer (hitman) was present at the scene of the murder, when the scientist was hit.
The publication states:
A machine gun equipped with a "satellite-controlled intelligent system" fired a total of 13 shots into the attack.
All other bullets came from bodyguards, Fadavi said.
The intelligent machine gun control system had "caught" Fakhrizadeh using artificial intelligence, the general said.
He went on to say that the purpose of the explosion of the smart weapon after the shooting was to kill the 11 IRGC soldiers who were accompanying the scientist.
It appears that the Iranian government and Fadvai claim that the attack was carried out entirely from a distance. This means that the Nissan truck used was either remotely controlled by a human or operated autonomously with AI.
Assuming the allegations were true, this would mean that a terrorist organization or a foreign government created a robot with a Nissan truck and a machine gun, and then used satellite imagery to locate, identify and strike Fakhrizadeh.
The machine gun reportedly shot Fakhrizadeh in the vehicle, killing him along with a bodyguard trying to protect the scientist. Fakhrizadeh's wife, who Iranian officials claimed was a few inches away, was not injured.
Many experts point to Israel, which has not confirmed or denied responsibility. Others claim the strike was approved by US President Donald Trump.
Although the latter hypothesis, so far, is unfounded, it may be correct. Donald Trump authorized the use of a Reaper drone to assassinate IRGC General Qasem Soleiman earlier this year.
Finally, if it is documented that Fakhrizadeh's assassination took place completely autonomously "without a killer", as has been reported, it would be (as far as we know) the first time a civilian vehicle turned into a killer robot and killed someone completely autonomously.