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972 Mag:

Additional automated systems, including one called “Where’s Daddy?” also revealed here for the first time, were used specifically to track the targeted individuals and carry out bombings when they had entered their family’s residences.

The result, as the sources testified, is that thousands of Palestinians — most of them women and children or people who were not involved in the fighting — were wiped out by Israeli airstrikes, especially during the first weeks of the war, because of the AI program’s decisions.

“We were not interested in killing [Hamas] operatives only when they were in a military building or engaged in a military activity,” A., an intelligence officer, told +972 and Local Call. “On the contrary, the IDF bombed them in homes without hesitation, as a first option. It’s much easier to bomb a family’s home. The system is built to look for them in these situations.”

Is the existence of such a system (that tracks Hamas to their homes and then preferentially targets them there) corroborated by any other sources?

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  • I've read the same in a German language newspaper (without labelling the system as "where's daddy"), but I don't have a link right now. I think IDF describes this as "using civilians as human shields", and as far as I know, this claim is uncontroversial.
    – gerrit
    Apr 4 at 7:25
  • In case someone wonders how that location tracking is even possible: apparently the main method was [geo]locating their phone(s), based on the rest of the piece. Apr 4 at 7:37
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    Might be hard to find another source, considering this is the result of investigative journalism and states that it is unveiled for the first time. Looks like a very in-depth and well-researched article from a serious source. If finding other sources now, those probably refer back to the +972 magazine article.
    – gerrit
    Apr 4 at 7:43
  • Part of the nature of journalism is often that sources must be kept anonymous for their own protection, and that such sources typically only speak to one outlet. So you're basically going to have to trust +972 that they're telling the truth when they say they spoke to six Israeli intelligence officers. "Is +972 generally trustworthy as a journalism outlet?" is a different question.
    – thosphor
    Apr 4 at 14:51
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    @user253751 I'd counter Rekesoft's argument by stating that Skeptics is the most pro-fact site, whereas politics.se, from what I've observed isn't. See this post. Apr 18 at 10:41

1 Answer 1

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Maybe

Here's the IDF official response to the article, the relevant part roughly translated to

The article "is riddled with inaccuracies and unfounded claims regarding the intelligence and operational processes concerning the attack on targets in the Gaza Strip, including the manner of operation of the Beshura system." In general, the article presents things in a trending and misleading way. It can be assumed that the article is based on briefings and unauthorized sources, who were clearly not involved in the operational processes described in the article in recent months.

The "Beshura" (or "Besora") system is described as

Such a system is among the 'Beshura', which is used in war. This is a system that allows the use of automatic tools to produce targets at a fast pace, and works by improving accurate and high-quality intelligence material according to the requirement. With the help of artificial intelligence, and through the rapid and automatic extraction of updated intelligence - it produces a recommendation for the researcher, with the goal being that there will be a complete match between the machine's recommendation and the identification performed by a person.

This doesn't necessarily confirms or denies that

thousands of Palestinians — most of them women and children or people who were not involved in the fighting — were wiped out by Israeli airstrikes, especially during the first weeks of the war, because of the AI program’s decisions.

only that an AI system exists to help and acquire targets, and that a human (is supposed to be) involved in making the last decision.

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  • 1
    I don't think a response from only IDF sources constitutes an answer.
    – thosphor
    Apr 5 at 8:29
  • @thosphor that's why it's a "Maybe", it is usually impossible to have a reliable third party verification of claims on confidential military equipment and methods. If you read the response (it's in Hebrew, as a non copyable image in a PDF) then the IDF source doesn't deny the claims, only says that there is a process and a human being involved, which to me adds credibility.
    – Rsf
    Apr 5 at 11:52
  • It would be helpful to highlight if the IDF response actually denies any specific claim made by the article - right now it reads like they're just rephrasing the claim without actually making any denials
    – CJR
    Apr 5 at 17:27
  • @CJR, because the claim is not controversial. Families of high ranking Hamas activists were killed when their family member was targeted in his home. There is no argument about that. And many people see those death as acceptable. So does it matter if the targeting was made by AI or by a Human? Even if they were made by AI, a human would make the same decision. If you want to show a problem with AI targeting, you should show a case where a decision was made that a human would not approve. If we look at another use case of AI that is like criticizing AI for successfully parking a car.
    – SIMEL
    Apr 5 at 19:27
  • @SIMEL I don't agree that AI deciding to kill thousands of civilians is like AI parking a car. The claim is (among other things), that with the help of AI, Israel generates far more targets that they could do without, and therefore have been able to kill not only the families of high-ranking Hamas people, but also low-ranking ones, which they otherwise would leave out for practical purposes. Maybe some people think it's OK to murder the family of an important Hamas member but not of an unimportant one?
    – gerrit
    Apr 5 at 20:57

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