What if DALL-E indexed your member?
The future of adult content is weird in Naughty List News #80
Prompt-to-image algorithms like OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 are poised to change the world of art creation in a significant way. The tool is not yet available to the general public, but copycats like DALL·E mini already allow us mere mortals to take a glimpse into the future.
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DALL-E 2 can generate images from any text prompt, but it comes with a disclaimer that it can’t be used to “generate violent, hate, or adult images” (emphasis mine) Here at NaughtyList.News, a statement like that makes our (blushing) ears perk up. What’s wrong with a bit of tasteful nudity of the generated kind?
Lots of things, as it turns out!
Chemicals on the mind
These results were extremely shocking to the research team because the algorithm was designed to do the opposite. It is typically used to help find new molecules for potential medical usage. That’s why the algorithm has guardrails in place to prevent it from developing dangerous chemicals; the researchers use a model to predict human toxicity and discard molecules that score too high.
But to build this model of human toxicity, the researchers first had to develop a massive dataset of molecules already known to be toxic to human beings. When they reversed the instructions and told the algorithm to optimize for toxicity, it generated tens of thousands of novel molecules. Some of these molecules were related to VX, the known deadliest nerve agent. And some of them were predicted to be even more lethal.
So what does any of this have to do with generative art? Well, prompt-to-image generators like DALL-E have guardrails too. For example, they’re not supposed to generate pornographic images.
But what if we took those safeties off?
If it doesn’t exist, we can generate it
Rule 34 of the Internet states, “if it exists, there’s porn of it.” Over the years, this principle has been pushed to its limits by creative humans, resulting in the meme “dragons having sex with cars.” When you have a specific kink and lack artistic skill, you can usually pay an artist to draw it for you.
And I certainly wouldn’t want to yuck anyone’s yum; many artists make a living this way! Getting paid to draw someone’s extremely specific fetish is a time-honored and well-respected tradition, going back centuries.
But if you could generate kinky images with a prompt-to-image algorithm like DALL-E, that would certainly put a damper on this very lucrative business.
Right now, if we could use a prompt-to-image algorithm like DALL-E 2 to generate porn, the results probably won’t look too great. But a year from now? Or even two? It will likely be able to generate images indistinguishable from those made by slightly inexperienced artists.
You could see how that might become a problem.
Feeding the machine
Contrary to public perception, prompt-to-image algorithms like DALL-E 2 cannot actually “think creatively.” Yes, it uses a sophisticated network of simulated neurons to connect concepts like “orange (fruit)” with an image of the fruit, but that’s only because it has been trained to connect the concepts via substantial data sets of images with the correct captions.
To put it in simple terms: if DALL-E 2 had never seen an orange before, it would not be able to generate one. Unless you specifically requested a “round orange-colored fruit with a green stem.” And even then, the results would be kind of iffy at best.
So for DALL-E 2 to generate convincing porn, it would need to be fed a massive dataset of existing pornographic images, all properly tagged.
Such a large dataset would likely be composed of art already on the Internet. It would be derived from the work of photography and video artists currently trying to make a living on sites like Instagram, Reddit, and, yes, Pornhub.
This would put enormous downward pressure on the value of the labor of an individual model or photographer. What is their work worth when it’s fed into a machine that turns it into something else? And if you as a client can convincingly generate any adult model having sex in any way you like by using an algorithm, why pay the artist themselves for the privilege?
Call me pessimistic, but I find it unlikely that adult content creators, unless extremely talented or well-known, will be able to make a living from their work for much longer.
The case for optimism
Even though I think these technologies will be immensely disruptive, they can still be a huge boon. Adult games are often made on the thinnest of budgets. I’ve written before about how Live2D can stretch your art budget much further. Using prompt-to-image algorithms could help projects to stretch their limited funds just a little bit further.
An experienced artist can use these algorithms to iterate much faster on a game’s style. They can generate many variations on a theme, pick the image they like the most, and only then invest the time to redraw it in the right style. Similarly, artists can use an algorithm’s output as a paint-over:
The generated images can also be used as “temp art,” giving a visual approximation of a game’s style but not much else. As a result, a contracted artist would no longer have to start from scratch to figure out the vision for a project.
Similarly, these algorithms can be used to give clients a preview of what an artist can do for them. Does this look like the image you have in your head? If so, let me clean it up for you.
But again, it’s hard to overstate how fast this future is creeping upon us. Two Minute Papers had a video a few weeks ago showcasing some generated art that would slot right into the portfolio of a junior concept artist:
The channel has a catchphrase: The result you’re seeing now may not be perfect, but just wait for the result two papers down the line! In this video, they had to qualify that the improved results were barely one paper removed from the previous best-in-class results.
So what do you think? Will DALL-E 2 spell doom for junior artists, or will it unlock a new era of creativity for adult games? Let me know in the comments!
Writing Wrap-Up 📖
Wearable premature ejaculation patches are the latest craze in sextech. No company has released a product yet, but investors are already horny for it.
New Japanese porn regulations are already harming performers. For example, adult performer Sakura Tsukishima was forced to give up her apartment due to the stringent new requirements.
Cheeky chuckle 🤭
Artist spotlight 💡
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