Technion student battles online anti-Israel hate with AI 

“When deployed on a larger scale, our platform will shift the balance of content and take away the numbers advantage of those who propagate hate, violence and lies,” said Zachary Bamberger.

Zachary Bamberger. Credit: American Technion Society.
Zachary Bamberger. Credit: American Technion Society.

Despite initial support for Israel and largely universal condemnation of the Hamas terrorist attacks on communities in southern Israel on Oct. 7, the number of anti-Semitic incidents, campus protests and online vitriol against Israel and Jews has skyrocketed.

The ADL reports that anti-Semitic incidents in the United States alone rose nearly 400% in the two weeks following the mass murders and the taking of as many as 240 hostages back to the Gaza Strip, compared with the same period last year.  

For many, social media has become either a battlefield or a source of shock and fear.

Enter Zachary Bamberger, an American who immigrated to Israel. The Cornell University graduate is currently working toward his master’s degree in the Technion’s Henry and Marilyn Taub Faculty of Computer Science.

When he saw what was happening online, he sprang into action. Using his prodigious talents in machine learning and natural language processing research, he built a large language model (LLM) that fights the onslaught of anti-Israel content and promotes positive posts to a global audience.

Over the last month, he has enlisted the help of students, professors, Technion alums, and other volunteers to reinvent methods for combating hate speech online.

“It can be really challenging for the average person to know where to start with taking meaningful action on social media, and we want to give people the tools to strengthen their voices and fight back against hateful posts online,” said Bamberger.

Bamberger’s company, Rhetoric AI, instantly generates high-quality translations of Arabic and Hebrew posts. The model predicts the virality of posts, reports posts that violate TOS agreements and produces counterarguments in Arabic, Hebrew or English for volunteers to utilize in their own responses.

“When deployed on a larger scale, our platform will shift the balance of content and take away the numbers advantage of those who propagate hate, violence and lies,” Bamberger said.

Rhetoric AI is already collaborating with some of the best-known experts in the field, including AI21 Labs, Google and Microsoft.

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