The Israeli military has reportedly been utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) technology to accelerate its process of pinpointing airstrike targets and managing logistics for subsequent raids in the occupied Palestinian territories. According to Israeli military officials, the AI-based targeting system can quickly process large amounts of data to effectively prioritize and assign thousands of targets for both piloted aircraft and drones.
In addition to the targeting system, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) also employs an AI program called Fire Factory. This program assists in organizing wartime logistics by calculating munitions loads and proposing a schedule for each strike. These AI systems have proven to be valuable tools for the IDF as it seeks to carry out successful military operations in the region.
The revelation of this AI utilization comes at a time when tensions in the occupied territories have been escalating. Israel has ramped up airstrikes on the occupied West Bank in recent weeks, citing a “focused counterterrorism operation.” Furthermore, there has been an increase in Israeli strikes on targets in Syria, further escalating tensions with Iran.
The IDF emphasizes that the AI systems it employs still require human operators to verify and approve each airstrike and raid plan. While the technology significantly speeds up the process, a human element remains essential for verification purposes. An IDF colonel stated, “What used to take hours now takes minutes, with a few more minutes for human verification. With the same number of people, we will do so much more.”
However, experts have raised concerns about the potential risks associated with AI miscalculations and the eventual possibility of removing humans from the decision-making process altogether. In the event of an error in the AI’s calculations, it is important to determine accountability. Tal Mimran, a law professor and former military adviser, questions the repercussions of detrimental mistakes caused by AI, stating, “You can destroy the whole family… by mistakes.”
The IDF has labeled the May 2021 conflict in Gaza as the world’s first “AI war” due to its utilization of AI technology to expedite the analysis of intelligence on militants in the region. This highlights the significant role that AI plays in enhancing military operations and decision-making processes.
Moreover, Israeli defense contractor Elbit Systems recently demonstrated its “AI-driven” Legion-X operating system for autonomous drone swarms. This further showcases the continuous development and adoption of AI technology within the Israeli military.
While AI offers several advantages in terms of efficiency and accuracy, questions about potential errors and accountability remain. As technology continues to advance, it is crucial to strike a balance between AI and human involvement, ensuring the responsible and ethical use of AI in military operations.