New Technology That Puts Celebrities’ Faces on Porn Raises Ethical Questions

By Alex Firer
Are you a big creep? Then I have amazing news.

  • Within months, we might not be able to tell the difference between fake porn and the real thing, as people paste the faces of famed celebrities onto existing pornography. We know AI is getting better all the time, but now it seems like it’s good enough to make it look like you shot a porn that you definitely did not.

    VICE’sMotherboard interviewed a guy on Reddit with the username deepfakes, who uses open-source software to put the faces of celebrities on already-existing porn clips. The software can use the thousands of freely available photos available on Google to mimic a person’s expression, and at first glance, it’s hard to tell that it’s not real.

    That’s right. It’s not a sophisticated company with 1,000 computers doing this. It’s one guy with software that anyone can access. In the last two months, deepfakes has also posted fake porn clips of Scarlett Johansson, Aubrey Plaza, Maisie Williams and Emma Watson. And, look. All of it is incredibly gross. Who is this guy? Why is he doing it? Ugh! Maisie Williams? Emma Watson? Sick.

    Anyway, porn actress Grace Evangeline is not impressed with deepfakes’ work. She told Motherboard: “One important thing that always needs to happen is consent. Consent in private life as well as consent on film. Creating fake sex scenes of celebrities takes away their consent. It’s wrong.” Yup. See, what’d I tell you!

    And, retired porn actress Alia Janine told them: “It’s really disturbing. It kind of shows how some men basically only see women as objects that they can manipulate and be forced to do anything they want… It just shows a complete lack of respect for the porn performers in the movie, and also the female actresses.”

    The technology itself is also problematic. Most of us have hundreds of photos of ourselves online. It’s realistic to assume the software could easily be used for revenge porn. But deepfakes doesn’t see that as a big issue. He said, “Every technology can be used with bad motivations, and it’s impossible to stop that. The main difference is how easy [it is] to do that by everyone. I don’t think it’s a bad thing for more average people [to] engage in machine learning research.”

    What do you think of deepfakes and this software? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.