December 13, 2017

Coming way too soon

Filed under: Media, Technology — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Charles Stross is a highly dependable source of nightmare fuel in his SF/horror writings. He’s just as disturbing when he points out real developments about to go mainstream:

AI assisted porn video is, it seems, now a thing. For those of you who don’t read the links: you can train off-the-shelf neural networks to recognize faces (or other bits of people and objects) in video clips. You can then use the trained network to edit them, replacing one person in a video with a synthetic version of someone else. In this case, Rule 34 applies: it’s being used to take porn videos and replace the actors with film stars. The software runs on a high-end GPU and takes quite a while — hours to days — to do its stuff, but it’s out there and it’ll probably be available to rent as a cloud service running on obsolescent bitcoin-mining GPU racks in China by the end of next week.

(Obvious first-generation application: workplace/social media sexual harassers just got a whole new toolkit.)

But it’s going to get a whole lot worse.

What I’m not seeing yet is the obvious application of this sort of deep learning to speech synthesis. It’s all very well to fake up a video of David Cameron fucking a goat, but without the bleating and mindless quackspeak it’s pretty obvious that it’s a fake. Being able to train a network to recognize the cadences of our target’s intonation, though, and then to modulate a different speaker’s words so they come out sounding right takes it into a whole new level of plausibility for human viewers, because we give credence to sensory inputs based on how consistent they are with our other senses. We need AI to get the lip-sync right, in other words, before today’s simplistic AI-generated video porn turns really toxic.

(Second generation application: Hitler sums it up, now with fewer subtitles)

There are innocuous uses, of course. It’s a truism of the TV business that the camera adds ten kilograms. And we all know about airbrushing/photoshopping of models on magazine covers and in adverts. We can now automate the video-photoshopping of subjects so that, for example, folks like me don’t look as unattractive in a talking-heads TV interview. Pretty soon everyone you see on film or TV is going to be ‘shopped to look sexier, fitter, and skinnier than is actually natural. It’ll probably be built into your smartphone’s camera processor in a few years, first a “make me look fit in selfies” mode and then a “do the same thing, only in video chat” option.

July 10, 2012

Does “Rule 34” have an exception after all?

Filed under: Cancon, Humour, Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 09:58

Kathy Shaidle may have found the only known exception to Rule 34:

Since women (and not a few men) obviously love a man in uniform, where is all the porn featuring the Royal Canadian Mounted Police?

Dirty cops are an X-rated staple, and “the UPS guy” has almost driven the once-ubiquitous “mailman” out of the porn business.

Even Nazis get to go where Mounties fear to tread. Those sleek black (Hugo Boss-designed) SS getups can get under even the most surprising skins: During the Eichmann trial in Israel, “Stalag” porn became Über-popular sexual samizdat.

So this slightly put-out Canuck wonders: What’s wrong with the RCMP, eh? Their uniforms are pretty sharp, too. And Due South fandom was rabid.

Yet there’s a distinct Mountie-porn void, one that violates a law of the Internet — “Rule 34” to be exact, which declares, “If it exists, there is porn of it.”

June 12, 2011

Second excerpt from Rule 34 by Charles Stross

Filed under: Books, Media — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 11:48

Charles is posting a few excerpts from his soon-to-be-released new book Rule 34. This is the second in the series.

The first part included a definition of that obscure phrase “a two-wetsuit job”:

A two-wetsuit job means kinky beyond the call of duty. [. . .] Back in the naughty noughties a fifty-one-year-old Baptist minister was found dead in his Alabama home wearing not one but two wet suits and sundry bits of exotic rubber underwear, with a dildo up his arse. (The cover-up of the doubly-covered-up deceased finally fell before a Freedom of Information Act request.)

It’s not as if it’s like isnae well-known in Edinburgh, city of grey stone propriety and ministers stern and saturnine (with the most surprising personal habits). But propriety — and the exigencies of service under the mob of puritanical arseholes currently in the ascendant in Holyrood — dictates discretion. If Jase is calling it openly, it’s got to be pretty blatant. Excessively blatant. Tabloid grade, even.

June 7, 2011

Charles Stross previews Rule 34

Filed under: Books, Media — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 12:17

It’s due in the stores soon, but if you want a quick preview, Charles Stross has posted the first chapter of his new novel Rule 34 on his personal website:

“Rule 34” should be showing up in shops in 33-35 days (depending where you live). By kind consent of the publishers, I’m able to give you a sneak preview of the first few chapters. So I’m going to roll them out on consecutive Fridays. Here’s the opening. (Note that this is carved out of the final manuscript; there will be some minor differences from the published text — typos fixed in the proof stage, mainly.)

October 8, 2010

The next Charles Stross novel, Rule 34

Filed under: Books, Media — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 12:02

From an interview with CultureLab:

I am putting the finishing touches on Rule 34, as in rule 34 of the internet, which says if you can imagine it, there’s a porn community around it somewhere on the internet. It’s my big gay near-future Scottish police procedural, featuring alarming and innovative business models for organised crime, Gangster 2.0 and iMob. Most business models for organised crime would be familiar to Al Capone, so the California venture capital community is funding criminal start-ups with new models. It’s about 15 years out, and about 90 per cent of it is familiar right now, but the other 10 per cent will be unspeakably weird and strange, and perhaps 1 per cent of that will be beyond your imagination. It will be published next year.

November 25, 2009

Rule 34, Stross version

Filed under: Books, Humour, Media — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 13:08

I can hardly wait until 2011:

If you’re wondering what this week’s excuse for scanty blog updates could possibly be, it might have something to do with me being 40,000 words into the (projected) 100,000 word first draft of 2011’s novel, “Rule 34”. It’s a sequel to “Halting State”, set some five years after the earlier novel, and focusing on the way our definitions of crime and morality (not to mention the practice of policing) change over time. (Yes, the title is an explicit call-out to you-know-what. The term “Hitler Yaoi” has been used with intent … but only after I googled, rubbed my eyes, and concluded that rule 34 was in effect.)

For the three of you who don’t know what Rule 34 is . . . don’t Google Image search for it. It’s a very short rule, but I suspect it’s true for most values of “true”: If it exists, there’s a porn version of it.


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