Pedophiles are utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to produce images of celebrities depicted as children, according to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).
Predators are circulating images of a prominent female singer transformed into a child, while on a dark web forum, the charity reports that child actors’ images are being manipulated for sexual purposes.
Child Predators Employ AI to Transform Singers and Film Stars Into Children
Furthermore, bespoke image generators are now being used to generate hundreds of images of real child sexual abuse victims.
These revelations are part of the IWF’s latest report, which aims to increase awareness of the risks associated with pedophiles exploiting AI systems capable of generating images from simple text instructions.
Researchers have cautioned against the potential misuse of these potent image-generation systems since they became accessible to the public.
In May, Home Secretary Suella Braverman and US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas released a joint statement pledging to combat the “disturbing increase in reprehensible AI-generated images depicting children subjected to sexual exploitation by pedophiles.”
The IWF’s report reveals that researchers spent a month cataloging AI-generated images on a single darknet child abuse website and uncovered nearly 3,000 synthetic images that would violate UK law.
Analysts observed a new pattern where predators take single photos of well-known child abuse victims and produce numerous similar images in various sexual abuse scenarios.
Within one folder, they discovered 501 images of a real-world victim who was around 9-10 years old when she endured sexual abuse. Additionally, predators shared a fine-tuned AI model file in the same folder, allowing others to generate more images of her.
Realistic AI Generated Imagery Raises Alarming Concerns
The IWF notes that some of the imagery, including depictions of celebrities as children, appears exceedingly realistic and would be virtually indistinguishable to untrained observers.
Analysts observed images of primarily female singers and film stars who had been digitally altered to appear younger, resembling children.
The report did not disclose the specific celebrities who had been subject to this manipulation.
The charity intends to present this research to highlight the concern at the upcoming UK government’s AI Summit scheduled for the following week at Bletchley Park.
Over the course of one month, the IWF examined 11,108 AI-generated images shared on a dark web forum focused on child abuse.
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