Fake celebrity porn is blowing up on Reddit, thanks to artificial intelligence

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Back in December, the unsavory hobby of a Reddit user by the name of deepfakes became a new centerpiece of artificial intelligence debate, specifically around the newfound ability to face-swap celebrities and porn stars. Using software, deepfakes was able to take the face of famous actresses and swap them with those of porn actresses, letting him live out a fantasy of watching famous people have sex. Now, just two months later, easy-to-use applications have sprouted up with the ability to perform this real-time editing with even more ease, according to Motherboard, which also first reported about deepfakes late last year.

Thanks to AI training techniques like machine learning, scores of photographs can be fed into an algorithm that creates convincing human masks to replace the faces of anyone on video, all by using lookalike data and letting the software train itself to improve over time. In this case, users are putting famous actresses into existing adult films. According to deepfakes, this required some extensive computer science know-how. But Motherboard reports that one user in the burgeoning community of pornographic celebrity face swapping has created a user-friendly app that basically anyone can use.

These anonymous internet users are gathering on a dedicated subreddit deepfakes created back in December, which has now amassed more than 15,000 subscribers. (It is very NSFW.) The term “deepfakes” has also become a stand-in for these AI-assisted face swaps. As for the new user-friendly app, it’s known as FakeApp, and it was created by using deepfakes’ original software and improving upon it. An exhaustive tutorial with download links posted 16 days ago is now pinned to the top of the subreddit. “This app is intended to allow users to move through the full deepfake creation pipeline — creating training data, training a model, and creating fakes with that model — without the need to install Python and other dependencies or parse code,” explains the creator, who goes by the online handle “deepfakeapp.”

“I think the current version of the app is a good start, but I hope to streamline it even more in the coming days and weeks,” the Redditor behind FakeApp tells Motherboard. “Eventually, I want to improve it to the point where prospective users can simply select a video on their computer, download a neural network correlated to a certain face from a publicly available library, and swap the video with a different face with the press of one button.”

It’s easy to point the finger at deepfakes’ growing community as outliers with repulsive intentions, but these users are taking their inspirations from Hollywood. Increasingly, films are using software to digitally render faces at various stages of aging, regressing older actors’ faces by decades or even bringing people back to life on the silver screen. Another member of the community used the technology to try and replicate an instance of this: the scene from Rogue One in which Carry Fisher’s Princess Leia shows up as her younger self. And the results are staggering, showing a near-identical result when comparing Hollywood CGI to a deepfake.


The implications of this technology are immense. It’s not just the effects this could have on celebrities and other public figures who already are subjected to all manners of manipulative forgeries and hoaxes. It’s also what AI-assisted face swapping could mean for politics, journalism, and crime. We assume, too, that face swapping is the end game, but it’s clearly just the beginning. AI advancements have effectively ushered in a new, more powerful, and sophisticated form of Adobe Photoshop for any type of media, be it photo or video.

There’s no telling what objects, actions, or scenes might be fabricated with enough photographic and video data to go on. The line between real and fake will only get more blurry. Right now, there are apps that can make anyone smile in a photo, and neural networks are already capable of generating organic photos of landscapes, animals, and architecture. It just so happens that right now, the internet being what is, AI-assisted face swapping is being used to a particularly disturbing end.


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