AI-generated porn is growing in popularity. But will it simply become another man’s world?

By Fatou Ferraro Mboup

Published Oct 26, 2023 at 09:00 AM

Reading time: 2 minutes

In the dimly lit corridors of the digital realm, there’s a haunting truth lurking in the shadows. We live in an age where men control the production and distribution of AI-generated porn, moulding an environment where female avatars aren’t just put on display, but also controlled. This points towards ta future where, as some publications have already hinted, virtual avatars could be exclusively dominated by men, thereby raising significant ethical questions about the dynamics of this evolving industry.

If you spend any time online, there’s a chance you will have seen this AI-created circulating, in the form of images and videos. They predominantly showcase white women, mostly slender, and adorned with enlarged assets. These virtual avatars are depicted in various states of undress, often engaged in explicit acts or posing provocatively, their digital existence subject to the whims of distant creators.

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If you look closer, the uncanny becomes undeniable—disjointed body parts and clumsy merging faces create an illusion of beauty that is profoundly artificial, slightly eerie, and strangely captivating.

This distorted reality raises fundamental questions about control, consent, and the future landscape of an industry that is intimately tied to human desires. These fabricated fantasies are the products of AI-generated models like OpenAI’s DALL-E 2, StabilityAI’s Stable Diffusion, and Midjourney. These tools enable anyone with a computer to weave intricate scenarios, typing out desires and witnessing their virtual materialisation, sometimes with eerie realism. Yet, an unsettling question arises: who wields this newfound power to create and control digital fantasies?

Despite the presence of Not Safe For Work (NSFW) content filters in these AI generators, users continually seek ways to circumvent these safeguards. A simple Google search for ‘AI porn-generator’ reveals a plethora of options, granting access to explicit content generated with relative ease. Notably, websites like Unstable Diffusion and PornPen emerged in August 2022, quickly becoming havens for AI-generated explicit content, and amassing significant followings in the process.

The virtual dominion of explicit avatars is not just about fantasy, it’s also a lucrative enterprise. In recent months, a disturbing trend has emerged where men seek advice on forums like Reddit and BlackHatWorld to launch AI-generated models on subscription platforms such as OnlyFans and Fansly. The appeal is evident: the opportunity to impersonate fictional women who do not exist, offering content otherwise impossible in the real world. This digital disguise opens up new avenues for exploitation as men turn a profit, seeking to monetise adult content generated by AI models.

One such creator, Sam—who spoke with Dazed about his experience—has emerged as a pioneer in this burgeoning field. The twenty-something has designed AI-generated models, predominantly women, to act as adult content creators. Remarkably, Sam’s models reportedly earn an average of around $200 per day. These digital creations straddle a precarious line. Sam initially attempted to set up accounts for them on platforms like OnlyFans and Fansly. However, challenges arose as he navigated the balance between declaring that the models were AI-generated and pretending that they were real individuals.

Traditional platforms like OnlyFans and Fansly possess verification processes that require photo identification, a hurdle that most of these men fail to clear. In response, they explore alternative platforms where they can monetise adult content created by AI models. As the allure of this virtual frontier grows, it raises critical ethical questions.

While AI-generated adult creators generate income, they operate in a murky ethical space. This digital exploitation mirrors a wider trend where sex workers have their content stolen for deepfake creations. Legislative protections for these individuals remain inadequate.

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AI porn’s uncharted territory presents complex challenges. As technology advances, it necessitates regulations to combat deepfakes. Legislation must distinguish between fictional content and non-consensual creations, preserving the rights and dignity of sex workers. Social media and financial platforms should address potential discrimination against these AI-generated models.

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