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From deepfakes to ‘fixing’ women – sinister ways AI has burnt celebs

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From deepfakes to ‘fixing’ women – sinister ways AI has burnt celebs

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Everyone from Tom Hanks to Taylor Swift and King Charles to Cathy Newman have been exploited by AI (Picture: Getty Images)

Celebrities have long spoken out against the frightening potential of Artificial Intelligence, and it seems like every day another unsettling story emerges.

Last week, Katy Perry, Billie Eilish and Stevie Wonder were among over 200 names from the music industry who signed an open letter warning about the threats AI poses to artistry.

Submitted by Artist Rights Alliance non-profit, the letter said: ‘We must protect against the predatory use of AI to steal professional artists’ voices and likenesses, violate creators’ rights, and destroy the music ecosystem.’

Likewise, much of Hollywood was on strike last year, with many stars worrying about generative AI taking roles away from actors and writers.

The fear was over both digital replicas; which can reproduce a performer’s voice or likeness; and synthetic performers, which are entirely generated by AI to use instead of a filmed human.

Indeed, AI expert Solomon Rogers told Metro.co.uk that presenters such as Tess DalyHolly WilloughbyDavina McCall and Josie Gibson, will soon become ‘obsolete’ and that the process to replace them with robots has already begun.

He pointed out that in South Korea, a digital human called ‘Zaein’ is already doing just this. Creepy.

But while many actors, TV stars and musicians have publicly expressed concern about AI robots taking their future jobs, there are other – and perhaps even more worrying – ways this new technology is impacting celebrities.

Deepfake pornography ‘violation’

Deepfake pornography is nothing new, but it’s becoming more of a problem.

While there is little legal regulation in place and creating AI becomes increasingly accessible and convincing, many celebrities across the globe are being exploited by the rapidly-advancing technology.

Deepfake porn is where one person’s face is placed on another person’s body to create fake porn photos or video, and those faces are often celebrities.

Last month, it was revealed that over 250 British celebrities are among thousands who have been victim to deepfake porn.

One of these was Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman, who said: ‘It feels like a violation. It just feels really sinister that someone out there who’s put this together, I can’t see them, and they can see this kind of imaginary version of me, this fake version of me.’

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Newman said being used in deepfake porn was a ‘violation’ (Picture: Mike Lawn/REX/Shutterstock)
Swift is a major target for AI scammers and deepfake videos (Picture: Getty Images)

In January this year, pornographic images of a deepfaked Taylor Swift went viral on X, leading to the social media site’s blanket ban on all searches for her name in an attempt to contain their inevitable spread. They were viewed millions of times.

Swift was said to be ‘furious’ about the images, which showed the pop star engaging in sexual acts with Kansas City Chiefs players and spectators. 

According to a source close to Swift who spoke to The Daily Mail, the Getaway Car singer was considering legal action against the porn site that allegedly leaked them.

‘Fixing’ women

It seems Swift has been subjected to more robot torment than most, as just weeks after the images circulated, she also became victim to one AI X account which set its sights on ‘fixing’ women’s appearances, digitally adding clothes to make them dress more modestly.

Twitter’s @dignifAI account, with 62,000 followers, covers up images of mostly women dressing in revealing clothes. It tampers with the pictures, adding clothes to cover their exposed skin.

For Taylor, this meant transforming into some sort of 19th century pilgrim woman, with a dress buttoned up past her neck and her hair wrapped up in a blue bonnet. Please, no.

Miley Cyrus was targeted by @dignifAI after wearing this dress (Picture: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Miley Cyrus was subject to the same dress-up, as her iconic golden lace dress turned into a neck-high, knee-length monstrosity.

Some argue this is just a joke – the account has broadened its targets somewhat by also removing tattoos from pictures of men – but it’s hard to get past its profile banner, which simply writes: ‘You can defeat a man but you can’t defeat an idea’.

It’s location is set as at ‘dignity and respect’ and its bio claims it’s ‘starting a movement’.

Paedophiles ‘de-aging’ women

Perhaps the most disturbing AI revelation for celebrities came when it was revealed last year that paedophiles were using AI to ‘de-age’ celebrities to create images of them as children.

The report, by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), did not reveal the names of the celebrities, but said targets were largely female film stars and singers.

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The charity also found evidence on one dark web forum of users manipulating images of child actors to make them sexual.

Deepfake adverts

Many celebrities couldn’t believe it when they were contacted by fans about their appearance on adverts for seedy businesses – which actually turned out to be deepfakes; artificial, digitally created videos of them promoting products, which often end up being scams.

Taylor Swift’s likeness was used to flog what looked to be  Le Creuset cookware in an advert, which turned out to be a deepfake, and ultimately, was reported to be a scam.

The high-end kitchen brand Le Creuset had nothing to do with the advert, and when users clicked through they were asked – after being told they would be getting the items for free – to pay a shipping fee, after which their card details would be charged a recurring fee.

Tom Hanks meanwhile, was seemingly flogging a dental plan, before he took to social media and informed fans this was an AI deepfake and most definitely not him.

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He shared a photo of the AI Tom in an Instagram post making his followers aware of the unauthorised campaign.

He wrote: ‘BEWARE!! There’s a video out there promoting some dental plan with an AI version of me. I have nothing to do with it.’

In January Zoe Ball took to the radio to alert fans to a scam, which used her face as an endorsement for a financial plan.

Zoe said: ‘A lot of people are calling it Apex AI I think and it’s making out that I’ve invested some money into this financial scheme and done quite well from it. 

‘And then it’s encouraging people who follow me to do the same. I’ve had so many people getting in touch asking if it’s a real thing. 

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‘Many of whom have actually given their details across and then they’ve had phone calls and follow ups. 

‘I am absolutely nothing to do with this, it is a complete scam and I’m really quite concerned about people being conned out of their money.’

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It seems no one is safe from this, as on YouTube and even X, Elon Musk replicas are promising untold riches in exchange for a little bit of private information and bank details.

Spreading misinformation

In February, when the news came of King Charles’ cancer diagnosis, a number of e-books popped up claiming to enclose the ‘untold secrets’ and ‘truths’ of the monarch’s ill-health.

Amazon removed the books, written by AI, though one still remains on sale in India.

Written by apparently fictional author Jason Kelch, the book, titled Charles III Biography Book: How A Frog Was Named After The King Of United Kingdom, includes a picture of a man who doesn’t exactly resemble the monarch.

Other books, including Behind Palace Walls: The Untold Secrets And Truths Of The Cancer Diagnoses Of Kings Charles & George, and King Charles III & His Fears, also appeared alongside legitimate biographies on Amazon.

Both included fake claims about the King’s health.

A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said the books were ‘intrusive, insensitive and filled with inaccuracies’, and urged businesses to ‘withdraw them immediately’.

King Charles’ cancer diagnosis sparked a flurry of AI-written e-books, which made false claims about his health (Picture: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
The picture on this one looks nothing like King Charles (Picture: Amazon)

‘Our legal team will be looking at the issue closely,’ they said, speaking to the Mail on Sunday.

The books were all published through Amazon’s self-publishing platform, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), which allows anyone to turn their work into an ebook or paperback.

An Amazon spokesperson said: ‘While we allow AI-generated content, we don’t allow AI-generated content that violates our content guidelines, including content that creates a disappointing customer experience.’

He added that they spend ‘significant time and resources’ monitoring titles and removing those which breach guidelines.

Got a story?

If you’ve got a celebrity story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk entertainment team by emailing us celebtips@metro.co.uk, calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we’d love to hear from you.


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