Israel’s AI Warfare

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  • Reading time:6 mins read
  • Post author:Sara Nazir
  • Post category:Stratagem

As the Gaza Strip is still under Israeli bombardment, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) procedures and tactics in target selection have caught attention. The deployment of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the center of this technological warfare, or at least how Israel likes to portray it. Most notable is an AI platform known as “the Gospel” which has increasingly made it to headlines. As the mass murder of Palestinians continues at the behest of the indifference and brutality of Israel and its allies, growing questions surround the ramifications of depending on AI in a conflict that has claimed countless civilian lives in the Gazan territory.

The IDF’s assertion of waging its “first AI war” during the May 2021 attack on Gaza sparked skepticism, and the ongoing destruction in the Gaza Strip provides an unprecedented stage for the widespread use of AI tools. The Gospel, an AI target-creation platform, has become a linchpin in the IDF’s approach, described by officials as a “factory” producing targets at an unprecedented pace.

The Unveiling of the Gospel’s Role

Insights from interviews with intelligence sources and revelations from IDF statements shed light on the central role of the Gospel. This AI-facilitated military intelligence unit operates with secrecy, prompting concerns about the opaque nature of advanced technology in warfare. Insights from sources within Israel’s intelligence community, as reported by +972 Magazine and Local Call, provide a glimpse into the clandestine world of AI-driven military operations.

The covert actions of the AI-enabled military intelligence unit, which operates under the cryptic flag of the Gospel, raise concerns about the openness and accountability of modern warfare.

While the IDF boasts precision and effectiveness, the Gospel’s involvement is shrouded in mystery. Concerns are heightened by the paucity of clear information regarding the data sources feeding the Gospel and the decision-making procedures it employs. As the world watches the catastrophic events in Gaza, there is a growing need for transparency in the use of artificial intelligence in warfare, which has far-reaching implications for civilian life.

There is a delicate balance within Israel’s intelligence community between the urgency of national security and the requirement for public comprehension. The discoveries from +972 Magazine and Local Call point to a complicated interplay between secrecy and the need to manage information flow. The major role of the Gospel highlights the changing terrain of modern combat when scientific improvements exceed general comprehension. As concerns over the ethical elements of AI in battle gain traction around the world, the Gospel’s clandestine operations become indicative of the broader issues in harmonizing national security imperatives with the need for international monitoring and accountability.

Amidst global apprehension about the expanding use of AI in armed conflicts, the IDF’s reliance on the Gospel emerges as a focal point. Former White House security officials familiar with the US military’s use of autonomous systems highlight the significance of the Israel-Hamas debacle, emphasizing its role as a potential turning point if AI is indeed influencing life-and-death targeting decisions. The IDF’s target administration division, formed in 2019, underwent a transformative shift with the introduction of the Gospel.

What was once a struggle to find viable targets in earlier Gaza attacks became a streamlined process, generating a staggering 100 targets per day during the May 2021 offensive.

The IDF’s recent claim of identifying over 12,000 targets in early November further underscores the rapid pace facilitated by AI.

Collateral Damage and Ethical Quandaries

Despite the IDF’s assurances of “precise attacks” with minimum harm to noncombatants, there is widespread skepticism about the actual impact of AI on civilian deaths. The practice of assigning a “collateral damage score” to each target, reflecting the number of civilian casualties anticipated, poses ethical difficulties. According to critics, the visible impacts, such as the extensive flattening of Gaza’s urban environment, contradict claims of precision and minimum injury.

As the IDF accelerates its target creation process, concerns arise about the dehumanization of decision-making. Sources familiar with AI integration suggest that tools like the Gospel operate as a “mass assassination factory,” prioritizing quantity over the legitimacy of the target. The risk of “automation bias” becomes apparent as human commanders may become cogs in a mechanized process, potentially overlooking the nuanced assessment needed to avoid civilian harm.

A Plea for Reevaluation

In the face of this AI-driven military transformation, it is imperative to reevaluate the ethical implications and potential consequences for civilians caught in the crossfire. The international community must scrutinize the reliability of IDF’s AI claims and question whether the accelerated targeting processes truly contribute to a safer, more secure region.

As the world witnesses the devastating toll on Palestinian lives, the urgency to navigate the intersection of technology and humanity becomes paramount.

It is critical in the continuous struggle for justice and peace to throw light on the veiled aspects of warfare, encouraging a global reexamination of the role AI plays in combat zones, particularly in the context of Israel’s ongoing bombardment on Palestinian civilians. This is an attack on ethics; demanding responsibility, transparency, and a commitment to protecting civilian lives in the quest for enduring peace. As the international community grapples with the intricacies of artificial intelligence in warfare, the objective is clear: ensuring that technology serves humanity rather than multiplies human misery.

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Sara Nazir is an Islamabad-based researcher with a background in Strategic Studies & area of interest is non-traditional warfare. She can be reached on saranazeer2@gmail.com & @SaraNazir13 (on X).

Sara Nazir

Sara Nazir is an Islamabad-based researcher with a background in Strategic Studies & area of interest is non-traditional warfare. She can be reached on saranazeer2@gmail.com & @SaraNazir13 (on X).