Israel is looking to double down on its technological prowess to become an artificial intelligence (AI) “superpower,” the Defense Ministry's director-general said Monday, with sights on advancing autonomous warfare and streamlining combat decision-making.
“There are those who see AI as the next revolution in changing the face of warfare on the battlefield,” Maj. Gen. (ret.) Eyal Zamir told an annual international security forum in central Israel.
He suggested that steps to harness rapid AI evolutions include the formation of a dedicated organization for military robotics in Israel’s Defense Ministry, as well as a record-high budget for related research and development this year.
Zamir, speaking at Reichman University at the annual Herzliya Conference, named GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) and AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) as deep-learning realms being addressed by civilian AI industries which could eventually have military applications.
These potentially include "the ability of platforms to strike in swarms, or of combat systems to operate independently, of data fusion and of assistance in fast decision-making, on a scale greater than we have ever seen,” he said.
Israel’s military has recently revealed some of its autonomous systems that have already deployed.
In 2021, the Israel Defense Forces said robot surveillance jeeps would help patrol the Gaza Strip border. Earlier this month, Israel Aerospace Industries unveiled an autonomous intelligence-gathering submarine which already completed "thousands of hours" of operations.
At the conference, Zamir also credited Israel's achievements in cyber warfare – widely believed to have been used against Iranian nuclear facilities – to "a correct and timely discerning of the defense, economic, national and international dimensions.”
“Our mission is to turn the State of Israel into an AI superpower and to be at the head of a very limited number of world powers that are in this club,” he said.