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AI Platform Sparks Debate with Deepfake Bounty Program

Civitai, an online marketplace facilitating the sharing of AI models, has recently introduced a feature called “bounties” aimed at incentivizing its community to develop realistic deepfake representations of real individuals, as first reported by 404 Media. The creator of the most impressive AI model is rewarded with a virtual currency known as “Buzz,” purchasable with real money.

Numerous bounties posted on the platform prompt users to recreate the appearances of celebrities and social media influencers, with a significant focus on female figures. Unfortunately, a substantial portion of these outcomes has been identified as “nonconsensual sexual images,” marking a concerning trend that has persisted on the internet for years. The use of artificial intelligence allows for more convincing results, and some requests even target private individuals with minimal online presence, intensifying the unsettling nature of this practice.

Michele Alves, an Instagram influencer featured in a Civitai bounty, expressed deep concern about the potential consequences, stating, “I am very afraid of what this can become. I don’t know what measures I could take, since the internet seems like a place out of control.”

Civitai, currently ranked as the seventh most popular generative AI platform by market firm Andreessen Horowitz, has attracted significant attention to its bounty requests. The swift ability of 404 Media to access images of a private individual with minimal online presence through a bounty request raises serious privacy and ethical concerns.

While some users on Civitai have refused bounties, citing potential legal issues, instances of fulfilled requests, including non-sexual images of private individuals, have been reported. Although few bounty requests explicitly state an interest in sexual material, some employ vague language, while others are more direct, using terms like “degenerate request” and making comments on physical attributes.

Civitai maintains that bounties should not be utilized to generate non-consensual AI-generated sexual images of real people, but the platform permits both sexual images of public figures and non-sexual images of private individuals. This opens the door to the combination of these elements, highlighting the ethical challenges associated with AI technology.

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