How US Big Tech Supports Israel's AI-Driven Genocide and Racism | Opinions

WhatsApp Group Join Now
Telegram Group Join Now
Instagram Group Join Now

Shortly after the October 7 attacks on Israel, Google CEO Sundar Pichai released a statement on social media, expressing sympathy for the Israelis without mentioning the Palestinians. Other tech executives — including Meta, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM — also offered their strong support for Israel.

Since then, they have remained largely silent as the Israeli army has massacred nearly 35,000 Palestinians, including more than 14,500 children, destroyed hundreds of schools and entire universities, and destroyed Palestinian homes, health Maintenance infrastructure, mosques and historic sites have been destroyed.

To carry out this staggering level of destruction, the Israeli military has been aided by artificial intelligence (AI) programs designed to develop targets with little human supervision. It is not clear how directly foreign tech companies are involved in these projects, but we can say with certainty that they provide the basic infrastructure needed to build them, including advanced computer chips, software and cloud computing.

In the midst of this AI-assisted genocide, Big Tech in the United States quietly continues business as usual with Israel. Intel has announced a $25 billion investment in a chip plant in Israel, while Microsoft has launched a new Azure cloud region in the country.

None of this should be surprising. For decades, Silicon Valley has supported the Israeli apartheid regime, providing the advanced technology and investment needed to power its economy and occupy Palestine.

As they did in 20th-century South Africa, today's largest US technology corporations see an opportunity to profit from Israeli apartheid – a byproduct of US-led digital colonialism. Is.

AI assisted genocide

Big Tech has been complicit in Israel's occupation, occupation and abuse of Palestinians in various ways. Perhaps best known is his support for extensive Israeli surveillance of the occupied local population.

In March 2021, Google, along with Amazon, signed a $1.2 billion contract for cloud computing services for the Israeli government and defense establishment. The two companies provide Israel with the ability to store, process and analyze data, including facial recognition, emotion recognition, biometrics and demographic information, known as Project Nimbus.

The deal received a lot of attention in the mainstream media when Google and Amazon workers started the No Tech for Apartheid campaign to call for the deal to end. Anticipating this backlash, Google and Amazon struck a deal with Israel guaranteeing continued service in the event of a boycott campaign. To date, they have gone strong and continue to provide cloud computing services to Israel.

The details surrounding Nimbus are hidden from the public, but Google employees have expressed concern that it is serving Israel's AI-inspired military massacres. Those concerns were fueled by reports that the Israeli military is using a new AI-powered system, such as “Lavender” and “The Gospel,” to determine targets for bombing Gaza. According to a former Israeli intelligence official, The Gospel facilitates a “mass murder factory” where “the emphasis is on quantity, not quality”.

Meanwhile, recent reports have revealed that Google is working directly with the Israeli Ministry of Defense despite the ongoing genocide. The company allows Israeli forces to use Google Photos' facial recognition service to scan the faces of Palestinians across Gaza for its dystopian “hit list.”

Silicon Valley and Racial Surveillance

Yet AI-assisted genocide is only the tip of the iceberg. For decades, American tech corporations and investors have quietly aided and abetted Israel's regime of digital apartheid. One of the most egregious examples is IBM, which was also a major supplier of computers for the South African apartheid government's national population registry and upgraded passport system that enforced racial sorting and segregation. used to do

According to Who Profits, an independent research center dedicated to exposing commercial interference in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Syrian land and population, “IBM designed and operates the Israeli Population, Immigration and Border Authority's Eitan system. [PIBA]Where personal information of occupied Palestinians and Syrians collected by Israel is stored and managed. The system consists of information collected through Israel's national population database and at border and key checkpoints.

The PIBA is also part of Israel's permit system, which requires Palestinians over the age of 16 to carry a “smart” card, which carries their photo, address, fingerprints and other biometric identifiers. are As in apartheid South Africa's passport system, the cards double as permits that set out Palestinians' rights to pass through Israeli checkpoints for any purpose, including work, family reunions, religious rituals or travel abroad.

Microsoft, for its part, has provided cloud computing space for the Israeli military's “Al-Monasq” app, which is used to issue permits to Palestinians in the occupied territories. In the past, he also participated in surveillance firm AnyVision (renamed Oosto) that provides real-time facial recognition services to Israeli authorities. Other companies, such as Hewlett-Packard, Cisco and Dell, provide technology to serve the Israeli military and military authorities.

Building Israel's technological superiority

In addition to supporting the Israeli surveillance apparatus, Silicon Valley also provides significant support to the Israeli business sector, helping it maintain and develop a high-tech modern economy.

For example, Amazon, Google and Microsoft have all opened major cloud computing centers in Israel, offering critical business infrastructure for data-driven products and services. Intel is the nation's largest private employer, having started operations in 1974.

Along with hundreds of other multinationals, Microsoft hosts its research and development (R&D) center in Israel, and it opened a chip development center in Haifa. Nvidia, the trillion-dollar chip behemoth powering the AI ​​revolution, has also announced that it is expanding its already large R&D operations in Israel. The list goes on.

Venture capitalists are also key to growing Israel's local tech sector, which accounts for 10 percent of the world's unicorns (companies valued at least $1 billion), 14 percent of jobs and about 20 percent of the country's GDP. Generate percentages. Since 2019, $32 billion has been invested in Israeli companies, with 51 percent led or participated by US-based investors.

Social media companies have also supported Israeli apartheid and occupation. In 2022, an external report commissioned by Meta found that Facebook and Instagram's speech policies showed bias against Palestinians. These long-standing practices of blatant censorship against Palestinians continue to this day.

In December, Human Rights Watch reported that Meta was continuing to crack down on pro-Palestinian posts on Facebook and Instagram. Of the 1,050 cases reviewed, 1,049 involved peaceful pro-Palestinian content that was censored or suppressed – despite allowing substantial pro-Palestinian content – ​​and one was removed in support of Israel. The company is also considering censoring the word “Zionist.”

Other organizations have been accused of censoring pro-Palestinian voices, including X (formerly Twitter), YouTube and even China-owned TikTok. Western governments, including the United States and the European Union, are pressuring social media giants to review and censor content deemed “terrorist” or pro-Palestinian.

Big Tech censorship extends beyond everyday consumers. Political organizations like Hamas have been banned by major social media organizations. Meanwhile, the Israeli military, government and other organs of Israel post freely, with broad support, state terrorism.

Digital colonialism

It is no wonder that US-based big tech companies are partnering with and investing in Israel, supporting its activities of genocide and apartheid.

Big Tech Corporations are modern day East India companies. They are an extension of US imperial power. They colonize the global digital economy and reinforce the divide between North and South. As a result, the US profits from owning digital infrastructure and knowledge and from acquiring resources from the Global South.

Digital colonization is tightly integrated into Big Tech's DNA. Its close relationship with the Israeli military is not only profitable, it serves the broader geopolitical interests of the US empire, which it benefits from.

Tech corporations' support for Israel exposes their false image as companies supporting apartheid and human rights. In fact, they are just as complicit in Israeli crimes as other organs of US imperialism. What we are witnessing is US-Israeli apartheid, colonial conquest and genocide, powered by US tech giants.

But just as the US and other Western governments are feeling the heat of legal action against their role in the genocide in Gaza, so are Western companies. American tech companies are clearly responsible for what is happening in Palestine. They are on the wrong side of history, just as they were in apartheid South Africa. With enough popular pressure, Big Tech's cronies will soon get their day in court.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of Al Jazeera.

WhatsApp Group Join Now
Telegram Group Join Now
Instagram Group Join Now

Leave a Comment