There’s been a lot of hype, often pushed by Western nations, that AI-enabled warfare is more targeted.
I spoke to Brian Merchant at the Los Angeles Times about this in the context of Israel’s war against Gaza:
“The mistake has been, in the last two weeks, saying this was an intelligence failure. It wasn’t, it was a political failure,” said Antony Loewenstein, an independent journalist and author of “The Palestine Laboratory” who was based in East Jerusalem from 2016 to 2020. “Israel’s focus had been on the West Bank, believing they had Gaza surrounded. They believed wrongly that the most sophisticated technologies alone would succeed in keeping the Palestinian population controlled and occupied.”
That may be one reason that Israel has been reluctant to discuss its AI programs. Another may be that a key selling point of the technology over the years, that AI will help choose targets more accurately and reduce civilian casualties, does not seem credible. “The AI claim has been around targeting people more successfully,” Loewenstein said. “But it has not been pinpoint-targeted at all; there are huge numbers of civilians dying. One third of homes in Gaza have been destroyed. That’s not precise targeting.”