In the sort of nightmare scenario that could practically be ripped from the script of dystopian sci-fi series “Black Mirror,” a New Jersey high school is under investigation after students allegedly used artificial intelligence to manipulate photos of their underage classmates to make pornographic imagery.
These “deepfake” nude images were then shared within various group texts.
According to WNBC Westfield High School students utilized AI to alter their classmates’ photos over the summer before disseminating them.
For obvious reasons, none of the teenagers involved in this scandal — the ones who created the images nor the one(s) digitally altered into the images — were named.
Parents at the school spoke to the outlet and confirmed that they had received an email notifying them of this awful information.
“I always worry about this. I have a daughter, she’s beautiful, she’s my baby girl — I don’t want something like that to happen to her,” one parent told the outlet.
And yet “something like that” is becoming increasingly more common and accessible with both the proliferation of artificial intelligence and the general growing depravity of society.
As to the first issue, while the president seems worried about sentient rogue AIs taking over nuclear submarines or something equally absurd, the real dangers of AI are becoming readily apparent.
Imminently more powerful AI may not be creating Terminators any time soon — but they can certainly be ordered to.
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And as AI becomes more powerful, it will also produce more lifelike images. It’ll produce images that will be exceedingly more difficult for a young person to extricate themselves from reputation-wise.
But again, AI has to be ordered to do those things for now, and that leads to the second issue… which might honestly be even more disconcerting than the first issue.
This awful story has laid bare the fact that social rot is real and it’s setting in at younger and younger ages.
Because this heinous crime that these students performed? It’s seriously dark and deeply wrong on so many levels.
Think of how lost of a soul you must be to, quite literally, objectify someone on this level.
Where are the fathers smacking their sons upside the head for this contemptible nonsense? Where are the authority figures and the respect for them? Where is a general apathy for one’s fellow human being?
Obviously, those questions are facetious and are just the tip of the iceberg of what’s wrong with modern society.
There is one last point to make here: If there’s one sliver of okay (“good” feels a breadth too far given the circumstances) news to glean from this, it’s that it will hopefully be a wake-up call to the swathes of people who are cool with the adult film industry.
Despite there being some denying the real-world implications of that industry (child trafficking is a very real stain on humanity), this incident should make it clear that porn — its mere existence — warps minds and perceptions.
The students that created these “deepfakes,” apart from being deeply lost souls at the moment, only did so because they wanted pornographic images or knew the destructive potential of said images because of how quickly and totally they can spread.
There are pretty clear lines from both of those possibilities to the adult film industry.