I can’t believe I’m about to write this but here goes: there’s an app available that removes clothing from the images of women to make them look realistically nude.
Yes, seriously. It’s 2019 and people are deliberately creating and sharing technology that violates basic principles of privacy, ethics and, you know, respect.
The app, called DeepNude, takes a photo of a clothed person and creates a new, naked image of the same person. It swaps t-shirts for naked breasts and pants for bare legs and a vulva.
It only works on images of women. Because, apparently, women are the only gender that it’s okay to sexualise, objectify and violate.
Users (who I’ve decided must be exclusively perverts and crazy people) only have to pay a small $50 fee to use the software. You can’t put a price on consent but this app has.
DeepNude also launched as a website that shows a sample of how the software works, allows you to try it online, and download a Windows and Linux application.
The fact that the creator of this abomination not only developed one but multiple versions of this app is horrifying. The fact they thought of the idea in the first place is very problematic. But they don’t see it that way- to him it’s just a bit of “fun”.
The anonymous creator of DeepNude, who requested to go by the name Alberto, told Motherboard that he was inspired to create DeepNude by retro ads for gadgets like X-Ray glasses which he saw a lot of during his childhood.
The logo for DeepNude, a man wearing spiral glasses, is an homage to those ads.
“Like everyone, I was fascinated by the idea that they could really exist and this memory remained,” he told the publication.
Curiosity is innocent enough. In fact, curiosity should be celebrated. I understand and even praise Alberto’s desire to see if he can create some cool software. But sharing and monetising that software is where the problem arises.
There is nothing “fun” or even a little bit okay about tech which generates unsolicited nudes of women. Just the thought of it makes me want to scream.
Alberto told Motherboard that he’s always asked himself whether the program should have ever been made: “Is this right? Can it hurt someone?” he asked.
“I also said to myself: the technology is ready (within everyone’s reach),” he said. “So if someone has bad intentions, having DeepNude doesn’t change much… If I don’t do it, someone else will do it in a year.”
I.e. I’m not developing anything new so it’s not bad.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Adding to a problem just further enables that problem- it inherently causes more harm.
The most worrying part about DeepNude is the type of culture it encourages. It tells users it’s okay and easy to disarm and disempower women. It encourages the sharing of non-consensual porn, masochistic and sexual behaviour and ultimately reinforces predatory patterns of behaviour.
But don’t worry ladies, there’s a men’s version coming soon. So we won’t be alone in having our sexual privacy violated.