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AI assisted Porn? A dangerous precedent?

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*Personal opinions from writer Chris Godber on this article from Motherboard 

*Contains swearing

Read the Motherboard article for full context and detail. It opens with this-

There’s a video of Gal Gadot having sex with her stepbrother on the internet. But it’s not really Gadot’s body, and it’s barely her own face. It’s an approximation, face-swapped to look like she’s performing in an existing incest-themed porn video. The video was created with a machine learning algorithm, using easily accessible materials and open-source code that anyone with a working knowledge of deep learning algorithms could put together. 

My jaw drops to the floor, and not in a good way.

Image: Screenshot from SendVids

Initial reaction – Disturbing, actually really deeply disturbing. Why do humans break brilliant inventions by being weird? This of course has massive potential reality breaking implications and leads us closer towards the ‘post-truth‘ dystopia bloggers on Medium have been writing about for a long time….

“One important thing that always needs to happen is consent,” Evangeline said. “Consent in private life as well as consent on film. Creating fake sex scenes of celebrities takes away their consent. It’s wrong.”

Take a min or two to process that sentence and just think –

In my opinion if the tech is not regulated it will surely create untold chaos – not just for politicians and the usual suspects, but for ordinary people. Imagine you have an ex who felt slighted in the past, or perhaps you fell out with a business colleague or a competitor wants to get an edge by ruining you or your business?

If this becomes ubiquitous then the power to generate false videos and images falls to anyone with a half decent computer, and the ability to run the algorithm thus giving them unprecedented power to ruin people’s lives, not to mention the other nefarious, multi-faceted blackmail powers it passes to black hat hackers and other nefarious internet users.

What kind of world could we live in where if some random person had a personal vendetta you might be framed as a rapist with some mocked up sex tape freely available for all of social media to gawp over? And I’m sure people will go “oh it’s just porn like before, what are you worried about?’ and surely consent will be given from anyone whose image is used?”.  But Read the Motherboard article in detail – this seems to be a whole other beast.

If the tech does become mainstream – in my opinion to not seek to strictly regulate it would be wholly irresponsible for any advanced society.

Personal opinion / standpoint on AI / Porn applications

This puts me off the idea of AI even more (as if the creepy looking men building sex robots in their basements hadn’t enough already). I wrote about how we should be just developing AI as a service worker a while back in my own personal academic self directed research in which I concluded it should be used  just as a tool we add to our portfolio of technology and an engineering tool – not a tool to further fuck the world up.

Personally speaking I’m a 30+ man so I’ve watched porn of course and probably even masturbated to fake celebrity pics when I was an 19 year old student at university etc but this on a gut level just seems like another level of messed up, and in my view almost certainly represents a danger to a safe internet for everyone to be free to explore, and learn from.

Public Debate Required

Artificial intelligence researcher Alex Champandard –

“We need to have a very loud and public debate,” he said. ”Everyone needs to know just how easy it is to fake images and videos, to the point where we won’t able to distinguish forgeries in a few months from now. Of course, this was possible for a long time but it would have taken a lot of resources and professionals in visual effects to pull this off. Now it can be done by a single programmer with recent computer hardware.”

Welcome to the possible cannibalisation of the internet in a few months then. Sometime you get the feeling it’s just time to unplug from this monster as it continues to mutate in unpredictable ways, of course that is no answer but articles like this raise some massive questions about where next.