People are using AI to put Witcher characters' faces into real porn

Earlier this week, Motherboard reported on deepfakes, a redditor (now an entire subreddit, too) that specializes in using a machine learning algorithm to plaster celebrity faces over the actors' faces in porn videos. The result can be convincing, albeit horrifying both in the occasional slip of the algorithm that distorts the face just so and in the implications of the technology. All it takes is a PC, a couple high-quality videos of the subject, and some publicly available software to produce plausible face-swapped footage. That means anyone can be the victim of impersonation videos, or some unknown means of bullying and deception this horrible future has unlocked.

But before the complete end of privacy and digital consent, the people must know whether they can put their favorite characters from The Witcher into porn, as we should have predicted. 

In one example found on the deepfakes subreddit (I didn't ask for this beat, OK?), Triss Merigold's digital face pulled from footage from The Witcher 3 is grafted onto a porn actress dressed, I'm guessing, as Triss Merigold. You'd think the cosplayer's face would be a close enough approximation, given that looking like the character you're cosplaying as is the whole point. 

Triss Merigold, as depicted in The Witcher 3. (Source: NexusMods)

The redditor behind the clips, FakingDeep (I'm noticing a theme here), thought their experiment went well, writing in the comments, "I think this one with Triss from Witcher 3 turned out pretty good, despite the training data not being ideal."

 A still from FakingDeep's attempt at Triss. 

If 'good' is being used as a metric to describe how close they got to depicting the 'unspeakable horrors' Lovecraft wrote about so long ago, then yes, we're on the verge of a breakthrough.

Yennefer gets the Twilight Zone treatment from FakeDeep, her digital face—and we must emphasize that videogame graphics still don't look or behave realistically, so this is a guaranteed layering of the uncanny, a result that can only be less than realistic—is transferred onto someone that is not cosplaying as The Witcher's sternest sorceress (but they may have just moved beyond the costumed part of the whole ordeal). 

Yennefer, as depicted in The Witcher 3. 

Again, the result works. The performer has a vague resemblance to Yennefer, a fictional character I broke up with on top of a mountain after kicking a genie's ass. I don't like it, but someone out there does I suppose. 

A still from FakingDeep's attempt at Yennefer.

So far, the majority of those holding the reins to the 'deepfakes' subreddit appear to be straight men, otherwise we'd have several pages of Geralt porn by now. And if there's no avoiding this dark future, then bring on the nude Geralt abominations already. Still, I find the rapid proliferation of machine learning technology troubling. While it'll certainly solve some long-standing problems for fans of Sonic the very attractive hedgehog, AI-driven face-swapping done without consent from the subjects presents yet another way to deceive and abuse people.