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Deep Fakes and A Brave New World June 30, 2019

Posted by Peter Varhol in Algorithms, Machine Learning, Technology and Culture.
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I certainly wasn’t the only one who did a double-take when I read about DeepNude, an AI application that could take a photograph of a woman and remove her clothing, creating a remarkably good facsimile of that woman without clothes.  At the drop of a hat, we are now in a world where someone can take a woman’s photo on the street, run it through facial recognition software to determine her name, age, address, and occupation, then use DeepNude to create realistic naked images that can be posted on the Internet, all without even meeting her.

The creator of this application (apparently from Estonia), took it down after a day, and in a subsequent interview said that he suddenly realized the ability of such a program to do great harm (duh!).  But from his description of its development, it didn’t seem that complex to replicate (I could probably do it, except for obtaining 10,000 nude photos to train it.  Or one nude photo, for that matter).

One of my favorite thriller writers, James Rollins, recently wrote a novel titled Crucible, which personalizes the race toward creating Artificial General Intelligences, or AGI.  These types of AIs have the ability to learn new skills outside of their original problem domain, much like a human would.  His fictional characters point out that AGIs will eventually train one another (I’m not sure about that assertion), so it was critically important that the first AGIs were “good”, as opposed to “evil”.

The good versus evil aspects invite much more debate, so I’ll leave them to a later post, but I can’t imagine that such an application has any socially redeeming value.  Still, once one person has done it, others will surely copy.

To be clear, DeepNude is an Artificial Specialized Intelligence, not an AGI, and its problem domain is relatively straightforward.  It is not inherently evil by common definition, and is not thinking in any sense of the word.  But when DeepNude appeared the other day, the world changed irrevocably.

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1. Five Blogs – 4 July 2019 – 5blogs - July 4, 2019

[…] Deep Fakes and A Brave New World Written by: Peter Varhol […]


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