Oct 22, 2021
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Report: IDF used AI drone swarms in Gaza

A report in New Scientist one week ago claimed that in the conflict between Israel and Gaza in May, the IDF used swarms of drones guided by artificial intelligence to eliminate Hamas terrorists. One rabbi claims that according to Kabalah, this is precisely the technology to be used in the war of Gog and Magog.

New methods of operation

“For the first time, artificial intelligence was a key component and power multiplier in fighting the enemy,” an IDF Intelligence Corps senior officer told J-Post. “This is a first-of-its-kind campaign for the IDF. We implemented new methods of operation and used technological developments that were a force multiplier for the entire IDF.”

According to the commander, the swarm unit has already carried out more than 30 successful operations and the IDF is planning to make more drone swarms available to support forces.

Using AI, the IDF killed more than 150 PIJ and Hamas operatives in 11 days of combat, many of them considered senior commanders or irreplaceable in their roles.

Autonomous weapons systems can be programmed to attack targets without requiring data connectivity between the operator and the munition. Until now, drones were directed by a single operator who flew the aircraft from a remote base and who also activated any weapons systems carried by the drone. Several countries including the UK, Russia, the United States, and China have been working on drone swarms.

The swarms operate as a single, complex entity that is not controlled by human operators at all. The AI swarm continues its mission even if some of the drones are lost.

“As far as we know, this is the first use of this type of tool,” said an IDF spokesperson of the drone swarm. “The operation of the swarm is by a single operator who controls all the drones. There is a commander next to him for making significant decisions and other soldiers for the logistical operation of the swarm.”

The AI uses data collected from satellites, other reconnaissance drones, and aerial vehicles, as well as intel collected by ground units. Combining this with data collected using signal intelligence (SIGINT), visual intelligence (VISINT), human intelligence (HUMINT), geographical intelligence (GEOINT), a huge amount of information is processed by the computers in carrying out the mission. 

Responsibility for the AI mission falls on Unit 8200 of the IDF is responsible for high-tech warfare which, until recently, was limited to r collecting signal intelligence (SIGINT) and code decryption.  It is subordinate to Aman, the military intelligence directorate. The unit typically relies on young recruits.

AI has become an essential part of protecting Israel from its enemies, sorting through huge amounts of information to pinpoint suspected Hamas locations, strike strategic targets, and remove missile launch sites. The Iron Dome anti-missile system used AI to intercept over 90% of the 4,600 rockets fired at Israel during the conflict. 

“The systems used in this case probably fall quite far short of the large dynamic, intelligent swarms that could someday have a highly disruptive effect on warfare,” Arthur Holland of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research told New Scientist. “But if confirmed, they are certainly a notch up in the incremental growth of autonomy and machine-to-machine collaboration in warfare.”

But drones and drone swarms are not the only AI weapon being employed by the IDF. The IDF’s Gaza Division is deploying a first-of-its-kind semi-autonomous robot. Called the Jaguar, the six-wheeled vehicle is equipped with dozens of sensors, an automated driving system, and advanced fire capabilities which include 7.62mm machine guns. The unmanned system also has a built-in public address system that could be used to warn border infiltrators to cease and desist.

AI: Morally problematic?

The use of AI in warfare is controversial. Human Rights Watch  is a founding member and serves as global coordinator of the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots. It runs a campaign against fully autonomous weapons, which it calls “killer robots.” According to its website, “There are serious doubts that fully autonomous weapons would be capable of meeting international humanitarian law standards, including the rules of distinction, proportionality, and military necessity, while they would threaten the fundamental right to life and principle of human dignity.” The organization produced a video, titled “Slaughterbots” 

AI  in Gog and Magog

Rabbi Michael Laitman, a leading expert in Kabbalah and the founder of Bnei Baruch Kabbalah association, believes that technology and more specifically artificial intelligence, will play a major role in the end-of-days but not necessarily a positive one.

“It is clear in Kabbalah that in the times preceding geula (redemption), Man is going to utilize the entire potential of technology,” Rabbi Laitman told Israel365 News. “Men will begin to create artificial intelligence. People will want to achieve something similar to the creation of Man.”

Michael Laitman (courtesy)

“In the time of the geula, people will understand that all of this development, all throughout history, is what brought us to an even greater collapse,” he stressed. “This will become very clear in war when we see that all of the technology we developed for man’s good can immediately turn around and be used against man.”

Rabbi Laitman believes that the same motives of Man which led to the construction of the Tower of Babel are also in play with the development of artificial intelligence.

“Men wanted to ascend to the heavens and become like God,” the rabbi explained. “To do this, they were dealing with the basic foundations of creation. They wanted to fix something inside man they believed was a blemish.”

Though this motive sounds noble, Rabbi Laitman pointed out a flaw that turned their good intentions into evil.

“This came from a place of ego, in which they wanted to take the place of God,” Rabbi Laitman said.

“Unfortunately, I do believe that AI-powered weapons will be developed,” the rabbi wrote. “If we upgraded our human consciousness at least as much as we upgraded our technologies, then we would have no fear of creating AI terminators that would be capable of eliminating us. Instead, we would further our research to discover a technology more sophisticated than AI, and energy more powerful than nuclear energy.”