A senior nuclear scientist with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a division of the Iranian military service, was assassinated on November 27 in what the Iranian government designated as an AI machine gun assassination attempt.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was murdered while traveling in a convoy outside Tehran. A Nissan pickup truck equipped with a mounted machine gun reportedly captured the convoy and opened fire. Moments later the truck exploded.
According to the IRGC’s deputy commander Ali Fadavi, “no killer was present at the scene of the strike” when the scientist was attacked, according to a report by the Iranian state-controlled media company Tasnim News Agency.
The report continues:
A machine gun equipped with a “satellite-controlled intelligent system” and installed on a pickup had fired a total of 13 shots in the attack.
All other bullets were fired by the bodyguards, Fadavi noted.
The intelligent system for controlling the machine gun had focused on Fakhrizadeh and used artificial intelligence, the general explained.
He said the purpose of the explosion of the gun-laden pickup truck after the shooting was to kill the 11 IRGC soldiers who escorted the scientist.
It appears that the Iranian government and Fadvai are claiming the attack was carried out entirely remotely. In such a case, this would mean that the Nissan pickup used was either remote-controlled by a human or driven autonomously by the AI.
Assuming the claims are correct, it would mean that a terrorist organization or foreign government built a robot out of a Nissan truck and machine gun and then used satellite imagery to track, identify and detect Fakhrizadeh.
The AI-powered machine gun reportedly shot and killed Fakhrizadeh’s vehicle, as well as a bodyguard trying to shield the scientist. Fakhrizadeh’s wife, who Iranian officials claimed was inches from him, was unharmed.
Take quickly: The big news here is all of the politics. Numerous experts point the finger at Israel, whose government has not yet confirmed or denied responsibility. And some have even claimed the hit was approved and sanctioned by US President Donald Trump.
While this allegation has been an unsubstantiated suspicion, it is not that far-fetched. Donald Trump approved the use of a Reaper drone to assassinate IRGC General Qasem Soleiman earlier this year.
But maybe that’s not the big picture. This type of killing differs from the Trump drone attack ordered in January. While both are out of court (the US is not at war with Iran), the drone attack used military equipment paid for by US taxpayers to carry out a strike at the request of the US commander in chief.
If it is substantiated that Fakhrizadeh’s murder was carried out completely autonomously “without an assassin on site”, as has been reported, it would be (to the best of our knowledge here at Neural) the first time a civilian production vehicle has been converted into a killer robot and to kill someone completely autonomously.
Published on December 7, 2020 – 20:29 UTC