Porn models take many risks in their jobs. They are often the victims of exploitation and abuse, and their photos are also stolen and posted for public access, as was the case with Corinne Kopf’s leaked nude.

Pornography created using the latest AI-based text-to-image-generating systems first arrived on the scene via the discussion boards 4chan and Reddit earlier this month after a member of 4chan leaked the open source Stable Diffusion system ahead of its official release. Then, last week, what appears to be one of the first websites dedicated to high-fidelity AI porn generation launched.  

Pen Down Your Porn Fantasies

Called Porn Pen, the website allows users to customize the appearance of nude AI-generated models — all of which are women — using toggleable tags like “babe,” “lingerie model,” “chubby,” ethnicities (e.g., “Russian” and “Latina”) and backdrops (e.g., “bedroom,” “shower” and wildcards like “moon”). Buttons capture models from the front, back, or side, and change the appearance of the generated photo (e.g., “film photo,” “mirror selfie”). There must be a bug in the mirror selfies, though, because in the feed of user-generated images, some mirrors don’t actually reflect a person — but of course, these models are not people at all. Porn Pen functions like “This Person Does Not Exist,” only it’s NSFW.  

Adult Content Creators Might Face Draught

Porn Pen raises a host of ethical questions, like biases in image-generating systems and the data sources from which they arose. Beyond the technical implications, one wonders whether new tech to create customized porn assuming it catches on could hurt adult content creators who make a living doing the same. “I think it’s somewhat inevitable that this would come to exist when [OpenAI’s] DALL-E did,” Os Keyes, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington, told TechCrunch via email. “But it’s still depressing how both the options and defaults replicate a very heteronormative and male gaze.”  

It Will Take A Long Time to Happen

Ashley, a sex worker, and peer organizer who works on cases involving content moderation think that the content generated by Porn Pen isn’t a threat to sex workers in its current state. “There are endless media out there,” said Ashley, who did not want her last name published for fear of being harassed for their job. “But people differentiate themselves not by just making the best media, but also by being an accessible, interesting person. It’s going to be a long time before AI can replace that.” On existing monetizable porn sites like OnlyFans and ManyVids, adult creators must verify their age and identity so that the company knows they are consenting adults. Of course, AI-generated porn models can’t do this because they aren’t real. Ashley worries, though, that if porn sites crack down on AI porn, it might lead to harsher restrictions for sex workers, who are already facing increased regulation from legislation like SESTA/FOSTA. Congress introduced the Safe Sex Workers Study Act in 2019 to examine the effects of this legislation, which makes online sex work more difficult. This study found that “community organizations [had] reported increased homelessness of sex workers” after losing the “economic stability provided by access to online platforms.” “SESTA was sold as fighting child sex trafficking, but it created a new criminal law about prostitution that had nothing about age,” Ashley said. Currently, few laws around the world pertaining to deep-faked porn. In the U.S., only Virginia and California have regulations restricting certain uses of faked and deepfaked pornographic media.

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