Don’t jump all over me for this, but what exactly is the crime here, and furthermore, is there a crime here? And what, in the end, can we do about this all happening again?
In my lovely home state of New Jersey (in Westfield, actually), it seems a bunch of female high school students were humiliated to learn that AI-generated nudes of them were being circulated among their classmates. It seemed sophomore males were whispering and acting “weird” around them recently (although how you could tell a sophomore high school male is acting any weirder than normal, I don’t know), which alerted the young women to what was happening. One of the young men confessed that somebody had used actual photos of some of their female classmates found on those classmates’ social media accounts and then generated nudes of these young women through an AI website.
The incident happened over the summer, but school administration was made aware on October 20. The Westfield Police Department and School Resource Officer were notified and consulted, counseling was provided to students, and now we all know about it and supposed action is being taken and discussed.
And now I can muster my questions.
- First and foremost: Is what the young men did in generating fake nudes pictures of a real person a crime? We are so new to this technology that laws are still being figured, even at the Federal level, but I am not sure that taking the likeness of someone and generating an AI nude from it is technically a crime. If the young men were distributing nudes the young women had downloaded/taken without that young woman’s consent—and surely nudes of females under 18—yes, I could see how that might be a crime. But again, I ask, is this a crime? And if it is, are there laws that even come close to prosecuting or punishing this kind of offense
2.) Might our children finally see how dangerous social media is? Surely, the young women, in this case, posted clothed, benign pictures of themselves across social media that were ‘appropriated’ (again, is there a crime in taking someone’s picture off the net and using it, even for an AI-generated nude? I don’t know). But how much more can we impress upon our social media users (of all ages) that what you put up on the net becomes the property of the world, and now, we see (and we all knew this before, not just now are worrying about it because of AI) can be used in any number of ways we might not have intended.
3.) Are we really ready for AI, ‘cause it is damn well seems ready for us…even if we are ready or not. Unfortunately, stories like what happened to these young high school women will probably become common place well before they stop.
4.) Are we surprised at this? Given the facility, young hetero males (the only population of males I can speak on with any expertise as I happen to have once been a young hetero male…now I am old and crusty) are obsessed with the female form, naked or otherwise. It was bound to happen that sooner more than later, with the advent of technology that allows them to do so, some guy or guys were going to render some nude pictures of some gals via AI.
I don’t want anyone, under 18 or over, (but especially under) to experience this kind of embarrassment, even if they can easily dismiss the pictures as AI fakes. I just don’t know if there was an actual on-the-books crime committed here, and what can be done about it even if there was one.