AI Error Had Outsized Role in Israel’s Deadly Attack

( – Israel is using artificial intelligence (AI) to locate targets in the Gaza Strip, according to a major media investigation. An AI-based tool named Lavender identifies suspected terrorists in the region but has a 10% error rate, investigators found. Reporters from Israeli magazines carried out a joint probe and spoke to six intelligence officials, who said human review of the AI program is minimal.

The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) issued a statement in response to the allegations, saying, “information systems are merely tools for analysts in the target identification process,” and emphasizing IDF efforts to minimize harm to civilians. The statement insisted that AI merely makes suggestions that are then verified following extensive inquiries. However, the unnamed officials said the IDF “rubber stamps” AI-detected targets.

The investigation’s author, Yuval Abraham, warned of Israel’s AI reliance during an interview with CNN, noting that computerized intelligence had identified targets inside homes where family members were present when the IDF struck.

The new report comes amid increasing pressure on the Israeli military following the deaths of aid workers on April 1. Seven volunteers with the charity World Central Kitchen died when an IDF bomb struck their vehicle. The dead included three former British soldiers, an Australian, a Polish citizen, and an American.

The White House issued a statement condemning the incident and demanding a thorough investigation. Additionally, the statement emphasized American concerns about Israel’s efforts to protect civilians.

An Israeli spokesperson said the strike was unintentional but noted the complexity of a warzone, stating that such tragedies can happen amid conflict. He noted, however, that “misidentification” was implicated in the incident.

Critics of Israel’s alleged AI targeting say the IDF is making “life and death decisions” based on “untested” computer software programs. “There needs to be a call for a moratorium on the use of AI in the war,” said Marc Owen Jones of the Hamid Bin Khalifa University.

Israel said it would conduct an independent review and continue to adhere to international law.

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