The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claimed the world’s first use of artificial intelligence (AI) and supercomputing in a ensuing war with Hamas earlier this month.
During its Operation Guardian of the Walls, the IDF said it had relied heavily on machine learning and data collection for more than two years.
“For the first time, artificial intelligence was a key element and a power multiplier in the fight against the enemy. This is a one-of-a-kind campaign for the IDF. We implemented new methods of operation and used technological developments that were a force multiplier for the IDF as a whole, ”a senior IDF Intelligence Corps officer quoted by The Jerusalem Post said.
During the two-week war between the two rival factions, the IDF carried out targeted airstrikes against Hamas targets deep in Gaza and killed at least 100 of its core members.
Much of the infrastructure built by Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip was destroyed by Israeli jets, which were targets previously identified through military intelligence.
The IDF says it has adapted AI technologies already available in the civilian market to its military intelligence needs. An advanced artificial intelligence technology platform has been created to centralize all data on militant groups in the Gaza Strip on a single system to facilitate the analysis and extraction of critical intelligence for operations, adds the Israeli website.
Being at the center of highly unstable regions, Israel has invested heavily in AI and its applications in the military. The country has prioritized the concepts of machine learning and algorithmic-based warfare at the forefront of its research and development for years.
To effectively use AI in warfare, the system must be powered by tons of raw data collected by satellites, aerial reconnaissance vehicles, field agents, ground information, and years of information.
The IDF would have used resources such as signal intelligence (SIGINT), visual intelligence (VISINT), human intelligence (HUMINT), geographic intelligence (GEOINT) to collect data and feed it into its supercomputers in order to to guide the army towards carrying out effective strikes.
According to JP’s report, it was IDF elite intelligence officers from Unit 8200 who pioneered the algorithms and code to create advanced programs named “Alchemist”, “Gospel” and “Depth of. Wisdom ”, which were developed and used during combat.
“Gospel” was used by the IDF to develop intelligent and effective recommendations for officers of the military intelligence wing to identify “quality targets” and subsequently pass them on to the military. air force to strike.
The IDF military intelligence unit has dedicated research wings to harnessing artificial intelligence in warfare, which predict enemy rocket launches, location and time, helping soldiers on the ground to find their way. defend effectively against them.
One such example is the Lotem unit of the IDF J6 / C4i leadership, whose job it is to build software for powerful AI and use machine learning in real-world applications, at the similar to what tech companies Google, Baidu in China or Facebook do.
An app created after Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in 2014 by this unit helped soldiers on the ground predict rocket launches from Gaza using data from field sensors and other sources. He identified the most likely launch locations, approximate timing and target areas for such projectiles, helping Israeli troops better prepare.
An application created by the Lotem unit can identify suspicious objects from a video and describe them in writing. The software can analyze dozens of videos simultaneously, which saves manpower for the IDF.
In the latest war against Hamas and other militant Palestinian organizations, the IDF said it established a multidisciplinary center that helped it produce hundreds of relevant targets, helping its military fight and target them all.
The vast pool of information was not assembled during the conflict; the data was collected over a two-year period, which helped the IDF target instantly. However, real-time data collection was also underway to identify missile launches.
According to JP, “the military believe that the use of AI helped shorten the duration of combat, having been efficient and quick to round up targets using super-cognition.”
The satellites of the IDF 9900 unit also played an additional role in gathering intelligence and assisting aid operations against Hamas and the PIJ, which helped military rocket launchers target the sites. rocket manufacturing, production and storage, military intelligence offices, drones, commanders’ residences and others. crucial facilities.
Hamas has spent the past decade building the “Metro” terrorist tunnel network.
In just 5 days, we neutralized it: pic.twitter.com/aobcEJcg4t
– Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 20, 2021
A notable feature of the current operation is Israel’s success in pre-identifying and targeting the underground tunnel networks used by Hamas. The IDF says it has carried out extensive mapping to identify the hundreds of kilometers of tunnel networks that Hamas has used for years.
Mapping would have been done again using intelligence gathered through technological developments and the use of big data to merge the available information. The IDF was able to get a full picture of the tunnels, their depth and width, the routes and everything to do with them, so they knew exactly where to target.
Hamas’s network of underground tunnels, called the “metro,” has been very crucial to its operations against Israel, and now that Israel has the technology to identify and locate them, the group has been deprived of a combat strategy. key.
A video posted on Twitter showed Hamas digging up bodies in a tunnel destroyed by Israeli precision airstrikes. This unit is said to be on its way to attack Israeli troops when a missile that fell from the sky destroyed it, burying the members.
Hamas continues to dig up the bodies of militants from attack tunnels that were destroyed by Israeli airstrikes. You can see how close the wall with Israel is to where they are. IDF says they hit several tunnels with militants on their way to raid the troops https://t.co/ DAx6z1kyN9
– Anna Ahronheim (@AAhronheim) May 23, 2021
The incident showed Israel’s clever use of technology to inflict heavy damage on rival groups that the IDF said decisively shortened the duration of the conflict.
It is believed that artificial intelligence has been used in many attacks in the past, but it is the most complete demonstration of its ability to change the tide of a battle.
Gaza’s health ministry said at least 243 Palestinians had died as a result of Israeli shelling during the fighting, including 66 children and 1,910 injured.
The IDF said the use of AI significantly reduced civilian casualties, however, the destruction of many civilian and commercial buildings in the airstrikes is currently under investigation by global agencies, including including the UN.
Although a ceasefire has restored some calm to the fighting between the IDF and Palestinian militant groups, experts say it may not last long.