Israel’s AI targeting system ‘Lavender’ linked to 33,000 Palestinian deaths in Gaza

Palestinians inspecting the damage.

Israel has been utilising an AI system “Lavender” to pinpoint Palestinians as potential air strike targets in Gaza, resulting in over 33,000 Palestinian fatalities since October 7, 2023.

According to a recent investigation by +972 Magazine and Local Call, the Israeli military employed Lavender to generate a list of 37,000 potential targets associated with Hamas.

Developed by Israel Defense Forces’ elite intelligence division, Unit 8200, this AI deployment aims to streamline target identification and approval processes by reducing human involvement delays.

Interviews with six Israeli intelligence officers involved in using AI to select targets revealed that human personnel often served merely as a ‘rubber stamp’ for the machine’s decisions, dedicating only about ’20 seconds’ per target before authorising a strike, as per a video report posted by Middle East Eye.

During the conflict, the army reportedly did not question the AI tool’s target selection due to its 10% error rate. The investigation highlights the use of “dumb bombs” on Palestinians inside their homes, resulting in a high death toll, especially among women and children.

The Israeli army denies using AI to identify targets, asserting that it cross-references intelligence sources against a database to ensure targets meet international law and IDF directives.

This news coincides with global condemnation of Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, which has resulted in significant casualties and sparked outrage, such as the recent killing of seven foreign aid workers in an Israeli air strike.

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