AI-Generated Obscene Content: A New Challenge for Tech Giants

NNicholas October 17, 2023 8:37 PM

The rise of AI-generated explicit content, especially targeting minors, poses a new challenge for social media companies and tech giants. The advent of deepfakes and the misuse of AI for cyberbullying is complicating the efforts of tech companies in maintaining user safety and privacy. The problem is exacerbated by the lack of effective control mechanisms and legislation to combat this emerging menace.

The emergence of AI in 'revenge porn'

The use of AI to generate explicit material is growing at an alarming rate, particularly among adolescents. 'Revenge porn', where explicit content is obtained by hacking or shared without the subject's consent, is taking on a new dimension with the advent of AI. Children and teenagers are increasingly falling victim to this nefarious trend. The images, although artificially generated, seem realistic, making it even more disturbing and harmful.

Social media platforms grappling with AI-generated CSAM

Social media platforms are particularly vulnerable to the rise of AI-generated child sexual abuse material (CSAM). This disturbing trend can involve either the creation of explicit images of non-existent minors or the victimization of specific individuals. These platforms are struggling to combat this phenomenon due to the lack of specific laws addressing AI-generated CSAM and the difficulties in detecting such content. There is an urgent need for tech companies and legislators to address this issue to protect the safety and privacy of users, particularly children.

Tech industry's struggle with AI-generated CSAM

The rapid rise in AI-generated CSAM is posing a significant challenge to big tech companies. With the volume and complexity of this content increasing, existing moderation tools and teams are unable to effectively deal with the issue. The situation is further exacerbated by recent layoffs in trust and safety teams across tech companies, leaving these platforms ill-equipped to handle the influx of AI-generated explicit content. This is a growing cause for concern and a clear sign of the urgent need for more advanced methods of detection and enforcement.

The developers of generative AI models also share a significant amount of responsibility for the misuse of their products. Models like Stable Diffusion, which are open-source, are particularly susceptible to abuse. While their user agreements may forbid such misuse, enforcement remains a challenge. The problem is further complicated by the fact that these models can be easily modified and used to generate explicit content in violation of their agreement terms. This highlights the importance of creating guardrails to prevent misuse and maintain the integrity of these AI models.

The legal landscape is currently ill-equipped to address the issue of AI-generated explicit content. Existing laws may fail to cover this area, and any attempts to legislate against it could run into First Amendment issues. While these images are morally reprehensible, the legal status of such content remains unclear. This is a clear indication of the need for specific, targeted legislation to address this emerging issue.

The impact of downsizing safety teams on managing AI-generated CSAM

The recent trend of downsizing trust and safety teams across the tech industry is exacerbating the problem of AI-generated CSAM. These teams play a vital role in implementing and overseeing protective measures against online threats. Without enough human intervention, tech platforms could be vulnerable to an increasing wave of harmful, AI-generated content. Hence, maintaining and actively engaging these teams is of utmost importance in the fight against burgeoning AI-generated explicit content.

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