Digital and AI advances in ‘immersive porn’ are potentially subject to the type of exponential growth made famous by Moore’s Law (which relates to computer processing speed and efficiency). Sex toys, dolls, robots, and even VR porn (because of the physical headsets) can only ever be partly so because of their reliance on large physical mediums or materials. So, for example, advances in sex robots wont happen overnight, although the sophistication of some elements like speech and face recognition might. The phsysical side of sex robots will still have to undergo an industrial process of manufacturing and design, as well as distribution and marketing.
Fake AI produced porn, however, is a different matter. Algorithms can be improved constantly by an ever growing community of enthusiasts. The AI software can improve based upon an exponentially increasing amount of data and faces to process, as well as improvements to the AI itself. Allied with the speed of improvements in the software and the numbers using and feeding it, is the range of possibilities and uses for it are also rapidly being expanded by the inventive community of ‘deepfakers’.
Fake AI porn hit the headlines a few weeks ago with the inserting of celebrity’s faces onto pornstar’s bodies in scenes, with the clever bit being that the facial expressions matched that of the porn actresses. Currently the software requires a large number of photos of the individual in order for her to be placed realistically in the scene, hence a big reason why celebs are the focus of attention for the deepfakers. But already there have been claims that the 4chan style community of fake porn enthusiasts (currently residing on Reddit with an astonishing 75,000 subscribers) have started using the software for even more dubious ends, such as placing their neighbour’s, classmates, or even family member’s into porn scenes. This will pose a problem for law makers, as well as ordinary porn fans looking to see some legitimate uses for this new tech, especially when it can be combined with virtual and augmented reality. Government and lobby groups rarely get it right when it comes to sane and rational sex and porn legislation even when they have years to think through appropriate measures. When a porn technology like this literally explodes overnight, a kneejerk overkill reaction will almost be guarenteed.
“Socially and culturally, this is exploitative but quite survivable,” Jay Owens, digital media analyst and research director at audience intelligence platform Pulsar told me in an email. “Viral videos and celebrity media already operate on a plane of pure entertainment—but this’ll only get sexier and meme-ier and lulzier and ever-more unreal.”
Deborah Johnson, Professor Emeritus of Applied Ethics at the University of Virginia’s school of engineering, told me there’s no doubt this technology would get so good that it’d be impossible to tell the difference between an AI-generated face swap and the real thing.
“You could argue that what’s new is the degree to which it can be done, or the believability, we’re getting to the point where we can’t distinguish what’s real—but then, we didn’t before,” she said. “What is new is the fact that it’s now available to everybody, or will be… It’s destabilizing. The whole business of trust and reliability is undermined by this stuff.”
See also a current thread on the deepfakes subreddit :