DeepNude, a New Easy to Use Deepfake App, Appeared and Disappeared in One Day

Deepfakes are back, everybody freak out! This is not a drill, you need to panic about the decline of western civilization. Yes, DeepFakes, the AI-created headswap videos now have a companion, an easy-to-use app that takes a picture of a woman (it only works with women) wearing clothes and turns it into a picture of her not wearing clothes.

Vice reported on this yesterday, and they way over-reacted to what is essentially a digital version of the X-Ray specs you used to be able to buy in the back of comic books for a quarter. The secret was you weren’t really seeing anyone naked, and you’re not really seeing a naked picture with DeepNude. That didn’t stop Vice from running with the headline “This Horrifying App Undresses a Photo of Any Woman With a Single Click.

Okay, let’s dial it back, this is basically a party trick.

Basically, this is a Windows app where you feed it a photo and it uses its AI to remove the clothing, something people have been doing with photoshop for decades. This is different from earlier use of the deepfake technology because that was used to replace faces in videos leaving bodies in tact.

I will never be able to get over the reaction to this technology which, as I’ve mentioned, Hollywood has had for like ten years. Some idiot in the House of Representatives even went so far as to propose a law requiring deepfake videos to have watermarks, something that can’t possibly be constitutional. Here’s how Vice overreacted.

Motherboard showed the DeepNude application to Hany Farid, a computer-science professor at UC Berkeley who has become a widely-cited expert on the digital forensics of deepfakes. Farid was shocked at this development, and the ease at which it can be done.

“We are going to have to get better at detecting deepfakes, and academics and researchers are going to have to think more critically about how to better safeguard their technological advances so that they do not get weaponized and used in unintended and harmful ways,” Farid said. “In addition, social media platforms are going to have to think more carefully about how to define and enforce rules surrounding this content. And, our legislators are going to have to think about how to thoughtfully regulate in this space.”

Here’s the thing: I’m not sure a single law against posting actual nude pictures of people, the so-called “revenge porn” laws, has been able to pass constitutional muster. More than one has been struck down in the courts. There’s absolutely no way that fake images can be made illegal.

Regardless, after Vice’s story went up, the DeepNudes website got enough traffic to crash the site, and the creator, who was seemingly worried his product was unethical to begin with, decided to take it down.

Of course, this doesn’t really matter. The app is out in the world and someone else will certainly iterate on it in the future. As the saying goes, you can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. This technology, along with the technology to replace Jennifer Lawrence with Steve Buscemi, exists. You can’t make it go away and you can’t legislate it away, so we’re all going to have to figure out what it means that this technology exists. This sort of AI isn’t even all that advanced or difficult to create. It would get its ass kicked on Jeopardy.

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