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Deepfakes and Sexual Fantasies: Are they both impermissible?

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Deepfakes are a type of synthetic or artificial media. By training AI on datasets of images, deepfake technology allows people to create photorealistic fake audiovisual materials. Sometimes these videos depict real people; sometimes they depict artificial people. Deepfakes have provoked philosophical interest in recent times, in part because of the challenge they seem to pose to social epistemic practices, and also because of the significant ethical issues they raise. Is it permissible to create a deepfake video of a real person? If not, why not? If so, under what conditions is it permissible? These ethical issues are particularly important given the main use of deepfakes. According to one widely-cited Dutch study, 96% of all deepfakes are pornographic in nature. Deepfake technology is commonly used to create videos depicting famous actresses performing sex scenes. Some of the actresses that have been subjected to this include Gal Gadot, Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Lawrence among many others. Deepfakes are also widely used to create revenge porn depicting ex-partners in sexually compromising positions. Some types of deepfake porn have even been used in political debates and scandals. For example, there have been famous cases of deepfakes (or suspected deepfakes) being used to undermine political opponents in Malaysia and India. When people hear about these cases, their reaction is often one of intuitive disapproval. They think there is something deeply wrong about the creation of involuntary deepfake porn. If a person has neither consented to have sexual imagery of themselves recorded, nor voluntarily participated in videotaped sexual activity, what could possibly justify or permit their image being involuntarily used to create fake imagery? Surely nothing? Philosophers, however, sometimes like to ask obvious questions like this to see if they raise any dilemmas in our moral thinking. In his paper ‘Introducing the Pervert’s Dilemma’ (an unfortunate title for. . .

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News source: Philosophical Disquisitions

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