8 out of 10 British people believe that specific AI tools, which enable users to digitally undress women and children like recent Taylor Swift images, should be banned.
The new figures were revealed to mark Safer Internet Day 2024, according to a poll by Whitestone Insight.
In the poll, carried out on behalf of Christian social justice charity CARE, 1,203 British adults were asked to consider the following: ‘Websites and apps that use AI to simulate sexually explicit content such as undressing women and children should be banned by the government.’
Seven in ten respondents strongly agreed (69%) and one in ten (10%) somewhat agreed. The number of respondents who strongly agreed rises to almost 8 in 10 (75%) discounting those who preferred not to answer.
The results come as social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, blocked searches linked to Taylor Swift after fake, AI-generated explicit images of the pop star were posted to the site. The graphic, fake images of Swift began to appear online at the end of January.
Since technology which enables users to create sexual images without people’s permission remains freely available, campaigners are calling for ‘nudify’ tools to be specifically outlawed.
Louise Davies MBE, CARE’s Director of Advocacy and Policy, underlined the severity of the issue. “The deepfake AI generated pictures of Taylor Swift that have swept social media for the last few weeks highlight a disturbing new trend. Technology now exists to take any picture, however innocent, and use artificial intelligence to turn it into a naked, pornographic image,” she said.
“With this year’s Safer Internet Day urging people to work together to make the internet safer, it is clear that a new and looming threat is AI technology. If lawmakers do not act swiftly, these apps and sites could generate untold harm.”
Pope Francis has drawn attention to the opportunities and dangers of AI in recent messages. He chose ‘Artificial Intelligence and Peace’ as the theme for the World Day of Peace in January 2024, and will return to the theme on World Communications Day 2024, 12th May, when he will consider ‘Artificial Intelligence and wisdom of the heart for a fully human communication’
Louise Davies called for a ban on so-called ‘nudification’ apps, underlining the dangers to young people in particular.
“Last year it was estimated that links advertising ‘nudification’ apps and websites increased by 2,400%. The content they create is extremely realistic. As well as still images, some platforms allow users to create new pornographic videos where subjects appear to do whatever the user asks,” she said.
“We are particularly concerned about an impact on children and young people. There is a rise in the use of these apps in schools. Young girls are being dehumanised and treated as mere sex objects. Deepfake images cause serious mental and physical distress to victims.
“It is clear that swift action to ban these apps would make a difference. There can be no reasonable argument against banning them.”
Picture: Taylor Swift attends a premiere for “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” in Los Angeles, Oct. 11, 2023. (OSV News photo/Mario Anzuoni, Reuters)