Headline RoundupApril 4th, 2024

Israel Used AI 'Lavender' to Target Thousands With Little Human Verification, Report Says

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Israel has been using an AI-based program called “Lavender” to pick targets for its bombings in Gaza, causing many civilian casualties, according to reports by Israeli outlet +972 Magazine (Not Rated) and The Guardian (Lean Left bias).

The Details: Citing “six Israeli intelligence officers” who had “first-hand involvement with the use of AI to generate targets for assassination,” +972 Magazine reported that Lavender “played a central role” in the war in Gaza from its early stages, identifying as many as 37,000 Palestinians as militants. There was reportedly “no requirement to thoroughly check why the machine made those choices.” Because it was “easier to locate the individuals in their private houses,” targets were often struck “in their homes — usually at night while their whole families were present.” A previous +972 Magazine report from November cited one Israeli intelligence officer who said Israel had used a different AI, dubbed “The Gospel,” to facilitate a “mass assassination factory.”

Key Quote: The Israeli Defense Forces disputed the reports, saying it “directs its strikes only towards military targets and military operatives,” adding, “Exceptional incidents undergo thorough examinations and investigations.”

How the Media Covered It: Coverage was most common in left-rated outlets; those which had been sympathetic to the Palestinians tended to frame Israel particularly negatively, with headlines like, “‘AI-assisted genocide’: Israel reportedly used database for Gaza kill lists.” The Washington Times (Lean Right bias) and the Daily Mail (Right bias) were the only right-rated outlets found by AllSides to have published original coverage of the story.

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