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19 June, 2024
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Israel's 'Gospel' AI raises alarms in Gaza strikes

Inside Israel's mass assassination factory


In the ongoing conflict with Hamas, Israel's military has taken a tech-forward approach, deploying an AI-based target-creation platform known as ''the Gospel.'' As the IDF resumes its offensive after a seven-day ceasefire, this AI tool has come under scrutiny for its role in accelerating the production of targets, drawing comparisons to a "factory."

As reported by The Guardian, the Gospel, previously mentioned as part of Israel's "first AI war" in May 2021, has now taken center stage in the latest Israel-Hamas conflict. Reports reveal details about this AI platform, shedding light on its methods and impact on targeting decisions.

Created by the IDF's target administration division in 2019, the Gospel operates within a classified environment. The IDF claims it uses an AI-based system, Habsora, for rapid target extraction, providing recommendations for researchers. This system aims for a seamless match between machine recommendations and human identification.

Interviews with intelligence sources and statements from retired officials unveil the Gospel's central role in Israel's response to the recent conflict. It's a glimpse into the secretive world of an AI-facilitated military intelligence unit, showcasing its significance in targeting decisions.

Aviv Kochavi, former head of the IDF, emphasizes the Gospel's power, citing its ability to generate 100 targets a day during the May 2021 conflict. This marked a significant increase from the past, where 50 targets were produced annually. The AI's effectiveness relies on large sets of data from various sources, including drone footage, intercepted communications, and surveillance data.

The IDF's target administration division, originally formed to address the challenge of running out of targets during previous Gaza operations, has evolved. The Gospel now enables the identification and targeting of a broader range of operatives, including junior members, changing the landscape of the conflict.

However, the use of AI in warfare raises ethical concerns. Reports suggest that the Gospel has transformed the targeting process into a rapid, almost automated, assembly line. The emphasis appears to be on quantity over quality, leading to fears of a "mass assassination factory." Critics argue that such acceleration may compromise the ability to consider the risk of civilian harm adequately.

The IDF contends that its AI-driven approach allows for precise attacks on Hamas infrastructure while minimizing harm to non-combatants. Yet, experts remain skeptical, questioning the actual impact on civilian safety in the densely populated Gaza Strip.

As the Israel-Hamas conflict unfolds, the integration of AI into military operations prompts broader discussions about the ethical implications of relying on automated systems in life-and-death decision-making scenarios. The world watches closely as advanced militaries adopt increasingly complex and opaque technologies, considering the potential consequences for civilians caught in the crossfire.

[With information sourced from The Guardian]

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