In the aftermath of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood and the brutal bombing of the Gaza Strip this October, one of the controversial photos circulated on social media. An Israeli soldier looking like one of the superheroes from a Hollywood movie is shown in this photo holding two babies he allegedly rescued from Hamas when Hamas gunmen kidnapped them killed them and put them in a closet on the Strip. Although the photo went viral, it was later discovered that it had been generated by an artificial intelligence tool.
This misleading information prompted Demis Hassabis, a British scientist and expert in the field of artificial intelligence, to declare: “We need to take the risks of artificial intelligence as seriously as we take the climate crisis.” He also said that this new super technology also There is another dark side, different from what we know, that can be a tool of killing and contribute to the creation of biological weapons. Most importantly, its capabilities can be used to manipulate minds and guide public opinion through written and visual content generation techniques, which are used as effective means of “information warfare.”
In fact, the information age has made the world we live in more ambiguous. With the existence of these technologies, we can no longer trust the news and stories presented to us, especially when the media is full of unsubstantiated speculation and false fabrications. News after news, this is what we are clearly seeing today in the war waged by Israel over its occupation of the Gaza Strip.
“40 children beheaded”
In May 2021, the Israeli occupying forces described the “Wall Keeper” campaign launched by the occupying forces in the Gaza Strip as the world’s first “artificial intelligence war.” The high-tech technology doubled the strength of the Israeli army during the day-long battle, thanks to autonomous weapons, spyware and tools to track and spy on Palestinians, according to Israeli officials. The same accusation has been repeated over the past few days to describe the ongoing Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip under the name Operation Iron Sword, but this time for a different reason, this time to be adopted in cyberspace as well. The same way ground targets are tracked and engaged to target the public and guide public opinion.
The best example is what happened on October 7, coinciding with Operation “Aqsa Flood”, when the international community was surprised by the accusations from the Israeli occupation forces and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office that the Palestinian Resistance Movement (Hama) members of Sri Lanka beheaded 40 babies.
The Hamas resistance movement denied Israel’s claims, but the “little piece of misleading information” spread like wildfire and was reported by international news agencies as confirmed fact. Especially after US President Joe Biden confirmed the news, claiming he had seen photos of beheaded babies. The White House later retracted that statement and denied seeing any of the photos. According to a report released by the Institute for Middle East Understanding, although more than 20 days have passed since the outbreak of the war, the Israeli occupying forces have not provided any evidence to prove the validity of their claims.
Israel’s accusations did not end there. This time, a photo of a burned baby in an Israeli hospital was used, which was rumored to be the child of the victims on October 7. This led to heightened public opinion against the Palestinian resistance movement, but upon examination of the image it was discovered that it had also been generated by an artificial intelligence program.
(AI exposes Netanyahu’s lies by posting a photo of what he claims is an Israeli child)
Israel’s information warfare takes many forms, sometimes spreading false and misleading information and sometimes distorting the public image of political opponents, all of which are part of the propaganda warfare process aimed at promoting a certain point of view and shaping public opinion. Israel has systematically exploited the digital transformation witnessed by various media and how social media has become a tool for exchanging news. It has exploited this to serve its military objectives in its information war on Gaza over the past decade, and we can now see its impact on the war taking place within the Las Vegas Strip.
a robot army
For two centuries, photographs have been the most reliable medium for disseminating news about war. We know the horrors of war from the images taken by the first war photographers in the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, and then again we find them reflected in the Death on paper. As Barry Sanders puts it in his book The Disappearance of the Human Being, through these photographs we contemplate humanity’s inhumanity until we begin to trust and believe it photo.
The era of deepfakes of photos and recordings has gradually destroyed this trust and credibility, masking what our eyes see and our ears hear. This is the crisis we are experiencing today in our internet-connected digital world. James Bridle criticized the information age we live in in his book “The New Dark Age”. He said that the problem is not the lack of information, but the excessive growth of information. Internet culture makes it easy for us to share photos and videos on social networking sites without having to verify their authenticity, especially if the images appeal to public emotions and provide a compelling and coherent story. This is where misinformation spreads more. Many reasons.
The AI revolution has exacerbated this problem, leading to an increase in the overall amount of misinformation. Today we are witnessing tools that can “make” images in minutes, and chat “bots” that can generate news from scratch, changing the rules of the war game forever. In response to the torrent of fake news, social media platforms led by technology giant Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and Threads platforms, have taken necessary measures to remove illegal and harmful content. But since Israel launched its war on Gaza, the authority meant to combat misinformation has instead been used as a tool of censorship and suppression.
Social media sites have waged a parallel war against content supporting the Palestinian cause, classifying it as misleading information or inciting violence. On the other hand, we found that posts supporting Israel’s brutal bombings were encouraged by social media algorithms, which allowed them to appear more effectively. This is what Alice Gecker was referring to when she spoke of artificial intelligence “armies” of bots that filter content and determine whether it is pro-Israel or anti-Israel. If he were in Israel, an army of bots would generate a flood of positive reactions through likes and shares. These bots will report if the content is not up to par so the unwanted content does not receive any interactions.
Baptist bombings and information warfare
Things didn’t stop there. When the bombing of Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza occurred on October 17, the official spokesperson of the Israeli occupation forces claimed that the missile that caused this human tragedy was caused by the failure of one of the missiles of the “Islamic Jihad Movement”. Israel’s claim is based on two things, the first being video footage and photos taken by satellite, and the second being audio recordings said to be of phone calls between former members of the Hamas movement and residents of the Gaza Strip. Many sources question the veracity of both incidents.
On the other hand, the New York Times conducted an extensive analysis of the video footage mentioned in the Israeli report, noting that two explosions occurred near Baptist Hospital within two minutes of the explosion, and it suspected that the Israelis who appeared in the video The missile officials are relying on is the one that caused the hospital explosion.
Meanwhile, media reports confirmed that the missile that hit Baptist Hospital fell vertically. This contradicts Israeli claims that he was released from a cemetery near the hospital. As for that call, the recording released by Israel has also been questioned by experts. An investigation by Britain’s Channel 4 cast doubt on whether the dialect used in the recording was that of residents of the Gaza Strip, opening the door to the possibility that the recording was a forgery, a move the Israeli occupying power has repeatedly made since the start of the war. The counterfeiting practices involved are exactly the same.