In what might represent a breakthrough in the development of artificially generated VR porn, researchers at the University of Helsinki have created an AI system that not only learns from a person’s brain waves what kind of faces he or she finds attractive, it can then successfully digitally create new faces from that information that the person will be attracted to.
RT.com reports that the algorithms were generated through a machine learning system called a generative adversarial neural network (GAN)
The joint team of psychologists and computer scientists at the University of Helsinki in Finland used electroencephalography (EEG) measurements to catalogue which facial features people found to be attractive and then fed the results to a machine learning system called a generative adversarial neural network (GAN).
Some 30 volunteers were shown a series of artificially generated but highly realistic faces, none of whom belonged to real people, created from a dataset of around 200,000 images of celebrities. Each participant was fitted with electrodes to measure their brain activity.
“They did not have to do anything but look at the images,” explains cognitive neuroscientist Michiel Spape. “We measured their immediate brain response to the images.”
The system learned their preferences and catalogued their unique set of so-called EEG attraction identifiers. It then generated custom-designed faces to suit an individual’s preferences.
Next, the system developed a second generation of AI-generated faces. The newly customized faces were shown to the 30 volunteers alongside a random assortment of additional faces.
Participants rated the 2nd-gen customized faces as attractive 80 percent of the time, compared to just 20 percent for the randomized faces.
As you can see from the photos above (taken from the University of Helsinki video below), the resulting images are not only realistic (and attractive), but absolutely past the uncanny valley to the point of being indistinguishable from real people.
The Implications For Virtual Reality And Augmented Reality Porn
Although as RT suggests, one application might be for improved match making for those using dating apps, a perhaps ultimately more significant use for this kind of AI tech will be found in XR porn (virtual reality and augmented reality porn). The characters in digital VR porn games and simulations could be tailored to the personal sexual tastes of the viewer. As in the experiment above, a first time user of a VR porn game or digitally generated scene, could go through the procedure described – viewing multitudes of faces for the AI to determine his preferences. Perhaps you would only need to go through the procedure one time, if new VR porn games had access to information already obtained, like entering a key when you start each new game, even from a different studio or company. With more powerful algorithms, it might be possible to avoid even this and produce attractive faces on the fly during the game. For example, you would enter a digital VR porn world, and the game would be able to tell which kinds of characters you are attracted to, and approximate them ever more closely to your ideal.
And of course there is no reason for this tech not to work for bodies as well as faces, as well as clothes and outfits. Perhaps even it would work for the behaviour of the characters, that is their ‘personalities’. Even the backgrounds and scenarios.
This is all very exciting. A mentioned above, the generation of artificial human faces by AI is now so good it’s pretty much indistinguishable from the real thing, and has been for a while. You can see from this NY Times interactive, an example of which is below, and looks very similar to the generation of the attractive faces in the Helsinki experiment.
For a number of years I’ve been predicting this kind of tech. I imagined something like the NY Times interactive above, in which an artificial face would morph into different versions, as an AI algorithm reading your biometric data figured out what facial dimensions, skin qualities, hair style etc. was most pleasing to you and approximated the face increasingly closer to your ideal. And this appears to be exactly what the University of Helsinki team have done. I even contemplated trying to develop the software myself, but considered it too much work and beyond my capacities. However, the first person who figures out how to implement this into VR or AR porn will certainly have seized a tremendous business opportunity.
Deepfake Porn And Ethical And Legal Implications
In my view, the ultimate end point of porn is a combination of deepfake tech and artificially generated worlds and people. Digitally animated girls are already becoming more attractive than most pornstars. But with the above technology able to artificially generate faces and bodies that are close to your absolute ideal one in a million dream sexual partner, it’s hard to see how a real pornstar could compete. And with the rapid advances in deep fake technology that I reported on only last week, this likely isn’t far away.
Some still contend that purely digital porn will never be as satisfying from a psychological point of view as real, recorded video. That may be true, but with deepfake technology, the two can be combined, so the animated girls and sex scenes are based on 3D scanned live action, with the faces and bodies not only turned into completely realistic avatars, but tailored to the viewers ideal tastes, and which then can be placed in any situation and even manipulated and ‘touched’ (with haptic tech) by the viewer.
But this could all be stymied by the increasing rush of legislation against deepfake porn. There’s no doubt these rapidly accelerating sex techs/porn techs are a headache for any legislator, but there’s a real danger that badly thought out or kneejerk laws could unfairly hinder what is an incredibly exciting technology. For example, does a deepfake porn law that prohibits the use of a real person’s face without his or her consent cover tech like this – artificially generated faces based upon (lots) of real person’s faces? Should it? Or would such application of the law to prevent AI generated faces be a ridiculous overreach? It could get even messier than this. Eventually, I can see a point where a virtual reality headset could read your brain to the point of recreating the woman you passed in the street earlier that day and were strongly attracted to. Would this be deepfake porn? What if it was just a ‘strong resemblance’ or such like of the person?
Other Uses And Possible Concerns Of Sex Preference Predictive Tech
It hardly needs to be said, that the Helsinki researchers behind these AI predictive algorithms, were not thinking of their use in VR porn. Or at least not publicly. In fact, somewhat disturbingly, their motives seem to be to use AI to analyze and identify ‘stereotypical preferences’.
“Potentially, we might gear the device towards identifying stereotypes or implicit bias and better understand individual differences.”
One can see perhaps that this tech might be used to identify ‘racists’ and such like. Only this week, there were concerns expressed in the media that researchers had found ‘implicit racial bias’ in the dating preferences of users of apps like Tinder.
Maybe it will be used as a tool to identify sexual deviants such as paedophiles, before they have committed a crime. Perhaps it will be taken advantage of in countries in which gay people are persecuted?
However, the potentially positive applications beyond porn are just as obvious, and equally exciting, at least if you project them far enough into a high-tech future. As regards dating, then yes this tech will enable more satisfactory and quicker matching of potential partners based on looks preferences. Thankfully, for most people looks are only one part of the equation that makes a person attractive and a suitable partner, and beauty is indeed only skin deep. But wouldn’t it be a perfect world if the person with the inner beauty could have the looks to match? At some point, cosmetic surgery will become so advanced that changing faces will almost be as easy as changing a hair style. One day, your perfectly matched partner by personality could change his or her looks based exactly on your ideal preference – and of course, you for them. Until that time, couples could use this tech in augmented reality to virtually ‘enhance’ themselves to resemble the ideal physical partner of their lover, if only to make their sex lives more fun.