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AI-generated pornography will disrupt the adult content industry and raise new ethical concerns

AI-generated pornography will disrupt the adult content industry and raise new ethical concerns

By Valerie A. Lapointe, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and Simon Dubé, Indiana University

Artificial intelligence (AI) is already reshaping various industries, from medicine and education to science and finance. AI is set to disrupt yet another market: pornography. Advancements in machine learning and AI algorithms for image and video production have contributed to the growth of websites for AI-generated pornography, commonly referred to as AI porn.

The mass production of AI porn has significant ethical and social implications. It can offer an unprecedented quantity of customizable sexual stimuli tailored to users’ preferences while drastically cutting down production costs.

There are benefits and negative impacts to the applications of AI in pornography. (Shutterstock)

On one hand, these new tools enable content creators to produce diverse erotica and allow widespread access to personalized sexual stimuli that meet people’s needs and desires, thereby enhancing their sex life and well-being.

On the other hand, it could lead to problematic overuse of pornography, the spread of deepfakes, and the production of illegal content, such as child pornography.

AI porn also has labour implications, and could create copyright issues as well as impact the jobs of sex workers and adult content creators.

In all likelihood, the impact of AI porn will be more nuanced: some users will benefit, while others may be negatively impacted by it. However, the pace of technological developments leaves little time to plan and research how to harmoniously integrate this new technology into our lives. Like in many other sectors, we are not ready for AI porn.

headshot of a man with blue digital images superimposed on top against a dark background
The increasing applications of AI in various industries is reshaping everyday life. (Shutterstock)

 

Customizable pornography

Similar to the industry’s origins in magazines, AI-generated adult content began with images. History and current technological trends both indicate that the next stage of erotica production will be more sophisticated and involved.

Currently, there are over 50 free websites offering AI porn, and this number will only increase. Websites such as Candy.ai, Lustlab.ai, and Pornify.cc allow users to design AI characters to their own preferences, making their fantasies come to life.

Users can generate images by writing text prompts or selecting specific characteristics, such as age, gender, hairstyle, ethnicity and other bodily attributes. They can also select clothes, positions, locations, behaviours and facial expressions, as well as opt for either realistic or animated characters.

This allows for immense diversity in terms of images and characters that can be generated. Unsurprisingly, however, the majority of content features women and female bodies.

Sophisticated AI

In addition to images, some sites now also offer the option to generate short, looping videos. These clips typically feature a brief repeated sequence of a specific action. Despite their humble beginnings, these clips hint at the future of AI porn: lengthy, complex and entirely customizable AI-generated pornographic videos created by professionals, laypeople or AIs themselves.

More complex text-to-video generators already exist, however, the anticipated release of OpenAI’s model Sora suggests significant progress in text-to-video generation, namely in its high level of realism, complex scene creation and unmatched video length.

While Sora will restrict its use, prohibiting users from generating sexual content on the platform, this underlying technology will eventually find its way into AI-generated pornographic videos.

Beyond images and videos, various sites also allow users to engage with a sex chatbot for conversation. Users can customize their own AI chatbot, specifying personality traits, appearance and preferences.

When a user creates an account, the site keeps a record of previous conversations to facilitate continuous interaction. Through this sustained dialogue, the AI can further provide personalized images or even engage in confidential voice calls.

This framework is designed to offer enhanced companionship and elevate the experience of a romantic or sexual partnership — hinting, once again, at the future of porn: one where it is combined with artificial companions.

With the rise of virtual and augmented reality environments, we can also anticipate that — like with present-day pornography — AI porn will soon provide increasingly immersive experiences.

a woman on a bed wearing a VR headset
AI porn has applications in sexual therapy and education. (Shutterstock)

 

Benefits and concerns

The advent of AI porn raises several concerns. For one, the highly customizable and immersive nature of AI porn could reinforce compulsive behaviours. Users may find themselves gradually drawn deeper into a world where their desires are continuously met, furthering risks of dependency or social isolation.

The recent creation and dissemination of Taylor Swift pornographic deepfakes highlighted the issue of consent and AI-generated sexually explicit content. Studies indicate that approximately 98 per cent of deepfake videos found online are of a pornographic nature, with women being the predominant targets in almost all cases.

AI porn could also jeopardize the livelihoods of sex workers and adult content creators, posing tangible risks for performers to lose traction and income as they gradually compete with the flood of AI-generated content.

AI porn creators could also use the technology to produce other illegal content, such as child pornography.

Conversely, AI porn could be used to enhance sexual pleasure. Individuals can materialize their deepest fantasies with only a few clicks.

It could also be employed in sex research to gain a deeper understanding of the depth of human desires and fantasies and provide safe, standardized and interactive stimuli during experiments. AI porn can be used in education to showcase the diversity of bodies and preferences.

AI porn has applications in therapy, where it can offer adapted stimuli to assess and treat fears or anxiety-based sexual dysfunctions, for instance, through exposure to progressively more intense sexual content.

AI porn could also serve as a tool for individuals to learn how to navigate healthy sexual and romantic relationships. Finally, AI could provide adult content creators with tools to grow their business.

The future of porn

While evidence-based laws could be put in place to mitigate the risks associated with AI-generated sexually explicit content, it would be paramount to educate users and creators in their sexuality and practice of consent. More research is also needed to understand the influence of this technology and guide its development.

AI will change the adult industry, and its impact on our intimacy and sexuality will soon become known.The Conversation

Valerie A. Lapointe, PhD candidate in psychology, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and Simon Dubé, Research Fellow, Kinsey Institute, Indiana University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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