Will Porn Bring on the Singularity?

We all know the singularity is inevitable.

Humanity is too in love with the possibilities of artificial intelligence to prevent a future where super-intelligent machines don’t radically remake the world. But thanks to pornography, the singularity will be more bizarre than anyone could have ever predicted.

After accidentally infecting the internet with malware that threatens to take over computers across the world, porn has turned to artificial intelligence to better understand itself.

So it appears that the world’s chronic masturbators are unwittingly helping launch Skynet.

Tube porn sites are unheralded marvels of technological engineering. Sites like Pornhub host a seemingly endless number of videos and visited by over 26 billion people worldwide per year. They manage a staggering amount of data. It’s not surprising they need help sorting through it. Is the answer to the challenge of organizing all that information AI?

CNET reports that Pornhub is using artificial intelligence to sort its vast catalog of porn.

Pornhub’s AI tools will recognize and tag faces and physical attributes of the people sweating and slurping in their thousands of videos. The bots will be able to identify 10,000 professional porn actors in the five million videos uploaded on the site.

In addition to recognizing porn stars, the porn AI will also catalog positions, shooting locations and features. So it’s not just a facial recognition system. It’s a recognition for stuff that happens in porn, like facials.

To ensure accuracy, it will rely on user feedback to ensure they’ve identified the performers accurately. So when you’re at home staring glumly at a computer screen and you’re disappointed that the girl is more of a dirty blonde than a real blonde or that you wanted a poolside scene and the video was technically shot on a deck, you let can Pornhub know the bot made a mistake.

The announcement of the AI tool came shortly after news broke that Pornhub has hosted invasive, malicious adware for more than a year. The program, a malware known as Kovter, infects computers and takes over the machine without the user’s knowledge. Pornhub has shut down the program but it may already be too late: news reports that the problem may have infected the entire internet.

The Guardian reports that the group KovCoreG carried out the hack.

Mark James, a security specialist at IT firm ESET, told The Guardian that the attack was effective because it targeted porn users, a particularly vulnerable online population. “The user may be less likely to call for help and try to click through any pop-ups or install any software themselves, not wanting others to see their browsing habits,” he said.

To be clear, the AI sorting and the malware infection are unrelated events. But technology has a way of evolving—particularly artificial intelligence. And when artificial intelligence is interacting with human beings at their most impulsive and vulnerable on machines infected with a virus that could take control of all operations, I’d have to guess the firewall separating the two technological events can’t last forever.

An all-knowing, self-aware program capable of accurately identifying human appearances and behavior with a global reach? How could that possibly go wrong?

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