The Sophisticated Technology of Mirage: Artificial Intelligent-Altered Videos (Deepfakes), Gender and Image Offenses

Proceedings of The 4th Global Conference on Women’s Studies

Year: 2022



The Sophisticated Technology of Mirage: Artificial Intelligent-Altered Videos (Deepfakes), Gender and Image Offenses

Chidera N. Okolie



There is no saying that artificial intelligence (AI) is a phenomenon that has continued to be embedded in human life; this symbiotic relationship of science, technology and humanity has come to stay. Today, AI technology has become the subject of discourse in various fields, it has become seemingly impossible to imagine a world without the intervention or intrusion (depending on the viewer) of AI technology.

One of such by-products of Artificial Intelligence is the sophisticated technology of mirage known today as deepfakes and arguably one of the most controversial topics about ethical AI. Viralized in 2017, merriam-Webster defines deepfakes as an image or recording that has been convincingly altered and manipulated to misrepresent someone as doing or saying something that was not actually done or said. Computer softwares are built to enable alien human features to be embedded onto pre-existing media, usually without consent. These manipulations thrived in the political arena and more recently, a representation of this deefake technology has been seen in the pornography industry where women’s faces are masked onto ‘foreign’ bodies in pornographic videos to create illusions that enable non consensual sexual image offences and virtual sexual exploitations and other harms. Some of the victims of this deepfake technology for virtual sexual offences include Kate Isaacs, leader of anti-porn campaign group Not Your Porn, and Cara Hunter, a 26-year-old Northern Irish politician. Academic and cyber civil rights researcher, Sophie Maddocks, commented that “Deepfakes were being used predominantly as a form of cyber sexual abuse:” It is no surprise that the perils of deepfake technology has prompted regulatory legislations like the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which includes provisions that address the growing problem of deepfakes, and the more recent ratification of amendments to the Digital Services Act (DSA) by the European Parliament on criminalizing deepfakes.

Deepfake technology has degenerated to a tool of consent circumvention and in some cases, as revealed in this paper, instruments of blackmail, revenge and injury to social reputation. This paper presents a timely analysis of deepfake technology, its exploits for image based sexual offences and subjugation, and measures that could be adopted to contain the seeming hazards of this sophisticated tool of mirage.

keywords: Artificial Intelligence, Gender, Technology, Digital Media, Image offense