In January 2018 I wrote an article about pornography and A.I. “face swapping” technology. I said that the fact that pornography is now being made, albeit in the infancy stages using this new tool, which allows for a person to “swap” another person’s face onto another person’s- in this case to give the illusion of somebody having sex- was a moment in which a technological rubicon had been crossed and would become a trend in the future. I argued that driven by men wanting to see their favorite celebrity or other person “having sex,” it would further the development, implementation, and normalization of “face swapping” until it became so proficient that nobody would be able to tell the difference between a real or fake in time. I also argued that it was incredibly dangerous because it marks the end of video as an acceptable form of evidence, for it would allow anybody to forge “video evidence” of a crime to convict an innocent person and would cause a geometric shift in society, fundamentally undermining social cohesion and trust to the point that nobody would know who to trust any more:
Again, I emphasize that the program is still in its infancy stages of use, but the fact is that given how effective it already is and that it is being used for pornography, the technology is going to improve and will be driven by the lusts of men. So what will this look like? It is very possible that instead of programs such as Valcri, which are marketed as the “AI solution” to solving crimes, the opposite may be true, which is that AI could enable the expansion of crimes by the forging of video evidence in a way that will be available to all people, from the man-on-the-street to the upper levels of government, that has never existed before.
Consider a situation where there is a video of an actual crime that takes place. What is to stop a man who gets his hands on this facial swapping technology from placing the face of, say, somebody he does not like or is having a personal feud with onto the face of the perpetrator? He could say “I didn’t do anything,” but the video evidence will prove him otherwise.
What about false crimes? For example, somebody sets up a camera in an area and then films himself “committing a crime” against his own property, and then just swaps the face of somebody he has a grudge against onto his? It’s a very convenient way to destroy somebody’s life in a cruel act of revenge that, if it was done well, serve as incontrovertible evidence in court as “evidence” of a crime that will be used to convict a man of guilt regardless if he says “I didn’t do anything.”
Now one might say that the police will be able to use digital forensics to detect if an alteration has been made. This might work for early stages, but given how fast technology is advancing particularly with AI and how scientists admit they don’t understand how AI works, what is to say that it will not reach such a point that it will be nearly impossible to tell if forged evidence is actually forged without considerable, concentrated work on a project, perhaps more work than a defense attorney team will be able to have the time or money to afford to do?
Now this is just for “simple” crimes. What if this were to be taken to another level of severity? Say, for example, of that of a foreign nation, where using advanced AI technology, a man can give the appearance that a foreign leader is speaking and giving commands or making statements against another nations that could cause a war, when the reality is otherwise? (source)
While on social media, I took note of a series of videos that people had been sharing. These were “Nicholas Cage” face swaps, in which people swapped actor Nicholas Cage’s face into various movie and media scenes.
Some of these face swaps are not that good. Others are very good- disturbingly good, I should note. Nicholas Cage is not the only actor that people are doing this with either
For some of these clips, if a person did not know what Nicholas Cage looked like, there would be no way to tell who was the real actor and which was the fake face swap.
The point of mentioning this is twofold. First, it is that the warnings about face-swapping technology becoming a threat to the integrity of information and how we are able to understand the world is real. Technology is a blessing, but ultimately it is just a tool, and it can be used for good or evil. In the case of face-swapping, while there are entertaining uses, it can and will likely be used to fabricate evidence for nefarious purposes.
The other point is that while the pornography industry is immoral, promotes evil, and is fundamentally degenerate, the pornography industry is also important to watch because it is large, powerful, and is consumed by many people as it represents the commoditization of one of the bases human impulses- sex. Since the urge to survive and the urge to reproduce are two matters that are common to all men- perhaps phrased as “Can I have sex with it” and “Can I use it to destroy my enemies” when inquiring about the usefulness of an object- then once must conclude that many trends which become widely popular somehow involve exploiting either or both of these desires.
A.I. face swap technology does both. It can be used for sex by swapping faces for pornographic movies and thereby helps people to indulge their personal lusts more deeply. It can be used for fabricating evidence, such as by a government who wants to “prove” that a given political enemy “committed” a “crime” and which either can be used to get a “conviction” or to justify another action, such as military intervention. What was popularized with pornography is now going mainstream.
Watch this technology as it develops, because it will in time change the very nature of how society perceives reality. If a society can no longer trust long-established forms of evidence, if highly incriminating evidence can be easily fabricated, then it will be used for it by men who seek power at all costs without any care or regard to the consequences of their actions.
A scene from the original Blade Runner film in which Detective Deckard (played by Harrison Ford) is testing at the request of the robot development company, Tyrell Corporation, if “Rachael” (played by Sean Young) is a “replicant,” or a humanoid-cyborg type robot.
Just as robot technology is for the foreseeable future going to continue to improve and it will become more difficult to distinguish between man and machine, such will happen with this new face swapping technology, except that it will be over how to tell if a piece of given evidence is real or a forgery.