Post-humanism's Impact on Media, Artificial Intelligence Gathering Evidence on Hamas-Israel Conflict 
AN Original
By Jacqueline Wilson


Post-humanism is a philosophical perspective that challenges our normative beliefs about what it means to be human. Post-humanism theorists such as Rosi Braidotti in her Posthuman Critical Theory and Donna Haraway in A Cyborg Manifesto argue that the blurred relationship, boundaries and hierarchy between humans, animals and machines are fluid and can be transcended. Both post-humanism theorists argue that human beings are no longer the sole or dominant agents of the world; we now embody technology and nature. Braidotti and Haraway propose problematising humans’ privileged status in these networks while marginalising others. The mechanisation war increased during the American Civil War and World War I, but the posthuman military truly emerged during the 1939–45 war. The military development produced the posthuman concept within academia, with its emancipatory potential discussed by Rosi Braidott. Technology enables the militarist project in de-centring the human, such as in the Gaza-Israel conflict. The ongoing war between Hamas and Israel since 7 October 2023 sees the belligerents no longer engaged in fighting traditional wars but in enacting posthuman war militarist projects, which are contra-productive in post-humanist thinking and practice as advancements in technology, genetics and artificial intelligence are transforming the human condition, not reducing human potential.

This article discusses the Gaza-Israel de-territorialised warfare between Hamas and the advanced Israeli militaries. Both parties’ atrocities failed liberal humanism, and their violence serves no purpose. Post-humanist artificial intelligence in journalism has been used to compile evidence of various means of artificial intelligence in the context of the Gaza-Israel situation since 7 October 2023. Posthuman technologies, such as advanced analytics and artificial intelligence, can detect human rights violations more efficiently and accurately. Since the Gaza-Israel war erupted, disinformation about the war has proliferated on various social media platforms, where misrepresented video footage, mistranslations and outright falsehoods often crowd out factual reporting from the conflict. The war shifts between human and non-human entities, ultimately blurring the line between them.

Journalists like Niels de Hoog, Antonio Voce, Elena Morresi, Manisha Ganguly and Ashley Kirk use satellite imagery and open-source evidence to investigate the extent of Israel’s damage inflicted on civilian infrastructure during its conflict with Hamas.
This ground-breaking development in journalism reflects how journalists covering news in conflict zones have turned to AI technology to gather evidence and report on the ground realities. For instance, Niels de Hoog, Antonio Voce, Elena Morresi, Manisha Ganguly and Ashley Kirk are the Guardians journalists who have successfully utilised Planet Labs, a satellite imaging company that captures Earth images using a small satellite constellation. The satellite imagery sourced from Planet Labs provided images of the conflict zone in Gaza taken before and after the events of 2023. Specifically, images  from May 2023 – months before the current conflict started – were obtained, followed by images from 30 November, 31 December and 5 January 2024 to document the damages caused by the conflict. Satellite imagery was used to verify the accuracy of their findings. Additionally, the investigation employed satellite imagery from Copernicus Sentinel, an EU satellite system capturing data and images of the Earth for climate, land and ocean monitoring, among other purposes, to supplement the analysis in reporting the impact of war in Gaza.

With the rise of misinformation and deep fakes around the Gaza-Israel conflict on social media, images captured using advanced analytics and artificial intelligence provide reliable evidence of the scope of the human catastrophe. This includes accountability for both parties as the images are an unlimited source of evidence, precluding any decisive victory. The images show destroyed orchards, greenhouses, agriculture, schools and flattened landmarks in three places in Gaza that have experienced such damage—Beit Hanoun, al-Zahra and Khan Younis—as well as the current situation six months into the war.

This investigation method helps experts and researchers in using open-source AI like Planet Labs and Bellingcat to research various issues, including geopolitical conflicts and human rights violations. Although Planet Lab and Bellingcat both offer satellite imagery, their purposes and applications differ. Planet Labs mainly creates and sells high-resolution satellite imagery that different organisations, such as media companies, can use for multiple purposes. Contrarily, Bellingcat utilises publicly available satellite imagery and other open-source data to investigate and create reports on human rights violations. Journalists like Niels de Hoog, Antonio Voce, Elena Morresi, Manisha Ganguly, Ashley Kirk and Johanna Wild from Germany use open sources for digital investigation and reporting. Both open-source AI services provide factual and reliable information.

A satellite image captured by Planet Labs on 20 May 2023 confirms the damage caused by Israeli military operations. The image also reveals some visible differences in colour, which can be attributed to seasonal changes in crop growth. On 12 December 2023, after the satellite image was taken, a video depicting Israeli forces detonating a school building managed by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees was released. The Guardian used satellite imagery on three areas in Gaza; in some specific images, for instance, the damage has been highlighted in yellow in the accompanying imagery. Satellite imagery captures different image types, such as aerial imagery of the warzone and damage assessments, as well as for monitoring humanitarian situations and identifying potential sites for refugee camps due to the extensive use of weapons in Gaza leading to significant fatalities and injuries. Hospitals and health facilities have been damaged, making it difficult for people to access the care they need in the northern Gaza Strip throughout Israel’s offence against Hamas in Gaza.

With Open Source Plant Lab, The Guardian gathered and analysed over 200 pieces of evidence, including videos, photos, news footage and satellite imagery from approximately 21 October to 11 November, 2023. As part of their investigation, international humanitarian organisations were contacted by The Guardian to assess the impact of the conflict on 10 hospitals and health centres in Gaza. This involved gathering information and evidence related to the damage incurred by these facilities during the conflict. In terms of evidence gathering, the satellite imagery provided footage, which sheds more light on the pulverising attack in Gaza. Substantial evidence related to the Israeli military’s use of airstrikes that caused deaths and injuries among young children who arrived at the hospital with deep wounds and severe burns was revealed. This open-source evidence can be used to help hold the state of Israel accountable for violations of international law or other abuses committed during the conflict, regardless of the Israeli military’s claim that the war is directed at Hamas, a terror organisation, rather than the people of Gaza.

Overall, satellite imagery can provide critical information and evidence related to the impact of war in Gaza, which is essential in the work of investigative journalists, human rights organisations, and universities. In conclusion, journalism continuously evolves, and employing advanced technologies and the concept of post-humanism is becoming increasingly important. However, such development is not limited to journalism; open-source technological tools also offer academic research that presents possibilities and challenges for advancing our understanding of the complex and essential issues in the social science trajectory. As humans, we embody technology(ies), and post-humanism and post-media inevitability change human interaction in technology, leading to a global informatisation and computerisation that impacts daily life, the landscape of academia and students, as well as a more comprehensive techno-cultural transformation. The Utrecht University Open Global Justice Lab is a prime example of how post-humanism can enhance academic research in pursuit of global justice. The Cyborg Manifesto by feminist theorist Donna Haraway illustrates the embodiment of humans and technology and the interaction between humans and non-humans, which Haraway defines as cybernetic organisms.

Finally, the integration of advanced technologies and the concept of post-humanism prove to be relevant not just in journalism but also in academic research. Still, as we continue to embrace technological tools, we must not forget that, as humans, we embody technology, and we should work towards a more comprehensive techno-cultural transformation.