Technology is an omnipresent force in all of our lives. It is the core of innovation, providing us with quick, new ways to research, socialize and entertain ourselves. It seems like everyone is taking advantage of rapidly changing technology.
However what one person thinks as a reward of new systems may actually be a risk to someone else.
Take for instance, facial recognition software. Facebook uses it to identify familiar faces in photos and Apple uses it to unlock phones. It’s everywhere.
Even the porn industry is getting in on it. PornHub, a major online source for adult content, announced their new plan to use AI to help categorize the 10,000 plus videos that are uploaded every day.
Prior to this update, the site used a system of tagging videos to keep them organized. I would go into examples of such categories, but I’ll leave that up to the imagination.
One non-explicit example is organizing content based on the names of the stars of the film. Both the site itself and users had the ability to add tags to videos.
Regardless, this was not fast enough. By integrating AI software, PornHub hopes to expedite this process.
While this may sound like a smart business decision, this seems like high risk beginning to inadvertently diminish privacy rights.
Many people in the porn industry have alternate personas to separate their work and personal lives. Facial recognition software may pull from sources from both sides of that spectrum and end up merging the two.
This has already been the case on Facebook via the recommendations the site makes for “people you may know” via your internet practices.
However, it’s not just a matter of protecting the identity for a professional or amateur porn actor, it’s also about the privacy of clients.
Imagine being recommended to friend the star of the last video you streamed. This industry in particular, requires a level of discretion.
To combat some of the fears, PornHub has insists that the AI software only tags from the 10,000 stars in their database. Though as this update has proven, they could expand their database to keep up with the demand in the future.
It’s a technological advantage for their organization, but at what cost to others’ privacy?
This story was first published in 2016.