Imagine a future where the porn we consume is created not by professional porn stars but by artificial intelligence capable of mimicking humans.
It is — especially if you are one of the thousands of workers employed in the adult industry!
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a game-changer in numerous fields, from healthcare to hospitality. Now, AI is transforming the adult industry, too. It can whip up videos, photos, and even interactive cam personas. This tech magic, known as generative AI, is a double-edged sword…
- How Is AI Used in the Adult Industry Today?
- Why Adult Content is Banned from Popular AI Tools
- What Adult Jobs Are At Serious Risk from AI?
- Adult Jobs That Could Be Partially Affected
- The Human Touch: Adult Jobs AI Can’t Replace (Yet!)
- What Are The Ethical Considerations of AI in Porn?
- How Big Is The AI Threat?
How Is AI Used in the Adult Industry Today?
Artificial intelligence is already rampant in the adult world — sometimes in good ways, sometimes in unethical practices.
Take deepfake porn videos or images, for example. AI image-generating technology creates fabricated footage/photographs of real people in fake porn or nudes. When used with terrible intentions, the content can be incredibly detrimental to the featured person’s mental health — not to mention their reputation.
On the other hand, there are legitimate uses of AI in the adult sector.
PornHub, one of the world’s most popular NSFW sites, used AI during its “Remastured” project to remaster 100-year-old erotic movies. The technology reduced background noise and colorized, sharpened, and contrasted the footage to bring it to life for modern audiences.
Some of the results were outstanding, if not… a little eerie.
The same company also uses AI in day-to-day operations. Since 2017, PornHub has utilized the technology to tag actors’ names in over five million videos, harnessing its facial recognition powers and automating a task that was once the realm of paid employees.
It’s easy to see the beneficial use of generative AI for reducing ‘grunt work,’ the laborious tasks that a machine can perform much more efficiently.
From a user perspective, it’s great to have efficient algorithms that source and surface more content from the performers we love. The top porn tube sites are now considerably ‘stickier,’ thanks to AI-powered recommendations.
But this is just one of many examples where the machine wins out in Man vs Machine.
One small saving grace for human workers is the reluctance of major AI companies to unleash their full toolkit in the hands of adult entertainment companies.
Ask a tool like ChatGPT to talk porn, and you’ll receive this blanket response:
Why Adult Content is Banned from Popular AI Tools
There are many popular AI tools in mainstream media — you may have used some.
Whether it’s the much-loved ChatGPT, the text-to-image tool Dall-E 2, or the music-generating Soundraw, artificial intelligence has created many applications for consumers and professionals to play with.
However, many of these services ban adult content, prompting some companies to craft dedicated NSFW AI tools in response. The question is: why ban adult content?
Generative AI companies have many reasons for prohibiting adult content. They tend to center around avoiding potential lawsuits, safeguarding their reputation, and securing their marketplace position.
From startups to established businesses, most believe allowing not-safe-for-work generations will hinder public perception and open their users to harmful content.
This is reflected in content policies that specifically prevent users from using AI to create adult content, as illustrated below in Dall-E’s content policy (October 2023):
Even though NSFW images aren’t illegal, platforms backed by solid brands believe allowing the proliferation of this material will bring considerable negative consequences that outweigh the potential profitability.
This is why you can’t ask ChatGPT to write a porn story or get Dall-E to generate nude pics. Although there are some clever workarounds through mischievous prompt engineering…
While we’re seeing a rapid emergence of adult-targeted AI tools, they don’t have the same public support or funding as companies like OpenAI.
Does this mean adult industry workers can rest easily knowing AI will ‘skip’ the porn industry?
Well, probably not…
What Adult Jobs Are At Serious Risk from AI?
Some jobs in the adult industry are at near-immediate risk from the ever-increasing usage of artificial intelligence. The following three are perhaps the most at-risk:
The rapid advancement of AI puts porn video editors in a precarious position, as the technology can auto-edit videos, extract the most relevant scenes, and assemble the footage into sensical, coherent content.
Tools such as Synthesia, Lumen5 and Premiere Pro already do this at scale with non-adult content. You can bet your bottom dollar that porn industry giants like Aylo (formerly MindGeek) will be developing their own in-house solutions.
AI is adept at performing many of the tasks where human video editors would previously earn their living.
Color correction (a necessity in any video editing process) can be performed automatically. AI-powered tools shift the colors and exposure based on the footage’s content and quickly correct common problems like skin tones, white balance, and saturation.
As the tools perform the work, built-in machine learning elements reduce mistakes and inconsistencies, ensuring the result is polished and professional.
AI-based audio editing software extracts background noise or music, enhancing the clarity of the main voices. The tools utilize complex algorithms to analyze audio signals to identify the unnecessary hums, clicks, or hisses that are apparent in raw footage. And it does it all much faster than humans.
Despite the above, video editors don’t need to panic too much. We’re still in the realm of AI as a companion and ‘productivity booster’ rather than stealing the job altogether.
After all, these tools are currently helping video editors do their jobs more efficiently, freeing them up for more convoluted, creative tasks.
While less experienced editors may find the technology slowly shifts them to the side, those well-versed in the craft will merely view AI as enhancing their workflows.
Webcam Models and Amateur Creators
Earlier this year, a photo capturing four near-identical cam girls went viral on Twitter following the revelation that it may not be real and was generated by an AI-powered bot.
my guess is that someone worked very hard in crafting it, but that it’s almost definitely AI generated, or AI-assisted-generated. Too many anomalies to be a real photo.
Also, the perspective looks to be straight-on, but the camera is all the way to the side. Should be distorted pic.twitter.com/qpL7HccjAw
— moonboi 🦋 (@moonboi_) January 28, 2023
Some X users mentioned they’d “pay for images like this, even if they knew they weren’t real.”
Many were oohing and aahing over the generated image of the four blondes in black underwear. However, others were quick to point out the image’s flaws. Most notably, the hands and perspective — AI has come a long way but still can’t get them right.
However, the person who initially posted the photo replied to the skeptics, saying, “The point is they’re already good enough to pass as real.” And as long as you don’t pixel peep, that’s true.
There appears to be a bout of virtual webcam models making their way into the camming scene backed by complex algorithms that can interact with users similarly to real cammers.
Alice Little, an adult content creator, notes her concern for the influx of these fake performers, citing the bots’ comprehensive language capabilities and ability to communicate with their fans in real-time, offering an illusion of intimacy.
Alice says: “Sex work is real work, and I’ve put a lot of time and genuine effort into my adult entertainment career. I’ve achieved a degree of success despite intense societal stigma in a highly competitive industry. Admittedly, I’m not thrilled with the possibility that sometime soon I can be replaced by AI. But I’m also not going to pretend that the threat doesn’t exist.“
As time passes, it’s Alice’s hope (and ours) that consumers will discover a renewed appreciation for real human cammers.
It’s hard to see how the giant webcam platforms like Chaturbate, StripChat or LiveJasmin will be dominated by AI-generated cam models in the next 2-3 years. After all, AI-generated live-video is a long way behind AI-generated photos.
But for individual models, the thought of ‘competing’ with an AI without boundaries is a scary prospect.
One area where AI is already disrupting adult industry jobs is the realm of content moderation.
Porn sites typically hire content moderators to view videos or images to determine whether it needs to be removed from the site. But humans can only complete this work so fast.
Unfortunately, “so fast” doesn’t appear to be fast enough.
The world’s largest porn company, Aylo, claimed in a statement to ABC that it received “169 years’ worth of new adult content in just one year“, making it near-on impossible for everything to be reviewed by humans.
Aylo employs 80 human content moderators (according to a former moderator) across a portfolio of sites that includes PornHub and Brazzers. To manually check every piece of content would require each employee to watch nothing but porn non-stop, 365 days per year, 24/7.
And even then… it would only cover half of the new content.
AI’s algorithmic nature means it can scan and moderate content much quicker and more efficiently than human workers. Completing its tasks within mere moments, it ensures illegal or inappropriate footage/photographs are taken down almost instantly, saving the site and its members from witnessing potentially harmful content.
Those currently employed in a moderation position will likely be jarred by the probability of a virtual tool taking over their duty. Still, they may experience a mental health improvement due to consuming less porn.
Many moderation professionals have reported psychological trauma from some of the footage they witness every day, giving rise to the benefits of AI conducting these tasks.
That said, artificial intelligence has no (or very little) nuance. It can be unintentionally biased, fail to grasp the importance of context, and cannot understand different cultures.
We anticipate that many of the porn industry’s content moderation jobs will be overtaken by AI. However, there will still be a need for human moderators to address these delicate nuances.
Adult Jobs That Could Be Partially Affected
Despite the arguments for and against the risk of AI affecting adult jobs, there’s no denying that content moderators, amateur creators, and video editors are in a dicier position than others.
However, that doesn’t mean the rest of the industry is entirely unaffected; some jobs may be partially impacted:
Is it so hard to imagine that porn of the future will star ‘virtual’ actors and actresses? Might we see the most famous stars licensing their image rights to be recreated in AI-generated clips and scenes?
The warning signs are already there.
AI-generated deep fakes are becoming increasingly popular as the apps and online tools that make them are more accessible than ever before.
From text-to-image prompts generating AI girls to the applications that superimpose celebrity faces onto porn scenes, artificial intelligence could seriously disrupt the career of a porn star getting started today.
Tools that replace actors are not available yet, but it surely won’t be long until AI can ‘generate’ a virtual actor:
Not everybody is convinced AI will be able to replicate the innate human elements of a human performer.
Sexologist Ness Cooper suggests that AI can’t replicate the nuances and complexities of human sexuality. She told The Independent: “I strongly doubt there ever will be the one porn that rules them all, as that’s not how our brains work when it comes to sexual fantasies and erotic images. Simply put, we are all different and enjoy different things.”
Others believe it may reduce the demand for real actors in specific niches.
However, Cooper’s reasoning (i.e., there will never be one porn that rules them all) solidifies the improbability of algorithms destroying porn acting across the board.
Not to mention that the adult sector is lagging in the full-scale AI adoption category due to the issues surrounding the legality of training artificial intelligence on porn content.
Many porn stars withhold their consent from the prerequisite tools to train AI, a trend we’re seeing across the broader entertainment industry. Ultimately, AI needs to be trained to be effective.
It can’t take actors’ places if it can’t be trained.
Scriptwriting is the forgotten backbone of long-form traditional porn movies, although it is nowhere near as complex as the scripts you will see in Hollywood.
Artificial intelligence can use algorithms to generate basic scripts based on a few prompts or statistics, like viewer preferences and industry trends, in moments.
Note the word “basic” here — even with natural language processing, it’s unlikely that AI-powered scriptwriting tools will replace human writers entirely.
The technology will enhance some aspects of the process, according to Videomaker. It will allow professionals to overcome writer’s block, develop new ideas, and boost the quality of their scripts through in-the-moment feedback.
It’s there to do the bare-boned basics, let humans add nuances and artistic touches, and improve the script’s flow.
We believe scriptwriters will still find adult work available, particularly in high-end studios, but many of the low or medium-budget productions will look to AI-based scripts instead.
Or go script-less in the Gonzo style to save costs.
Customer Service on Adult Platforms
Customer service may not be the first thing you think about when deciding whether to use a porn site, but it quickly becomes the focus when your payment doesn’t go through or there’s a technical problem.
Traditionally, adult entertainment firms hired people to sit on live chat all day and wait for inquiries or concerns to roll in.
The advancement of AI has given this role to chatbots that can answer frequently asked questions, handle relatively simple queries, and connect people with real human beings when needed (typically for more complex concerns or inquiries).
As such, the tech isn’t putting customer service professionals’ livelihoods on the line. Instead, it’s freeing them up for other duties. That’s the utopian view, anyway. A skeptic might say that it’s contributing to a leaner business with lower admin costs (read: less staff).
AI Chatbots aren’t just for customer service queries, though.
Amateur performers harness AI chatbots to improve engagement and respond to fans who might turn into paying customers. Some creators are even leveraging real-time language translation. It helps them add a more immersive feel to their offerings, strengthening connections, according to Together We Cam.
We’ve become pretty used to AI chatbots in the last few years across almost every industry, and the adult sector is no different. Technology has transformed the customer service niche, allowing NSFW entertainment companies to deliver the rapid responses you (and everybody else) expect.
Content Recommendation and Curation
AI already does a phenomenal job of surfacing recommended content much more effectively than a human could. This is down to machine learning and mountains of data.
AI can even match a face to every known porn scene the actor has starred in.
Content recommendation systems use AI to suggest content you like based on your past behavior, demographic, search history, and other information. This is one of the most lucrative areas for AI to exploit since more time on site = more advertising revenue.
The best way to see AI-driven content recommendations is to view a porn video (or any video). Pay attention to what video is served up immediately after the clip. Look at the thumbnail previews that appear below it. None of this is by accident.
Before AI, tube sites would use rudimentary criteria to suggest further videos. Are you watching a clip from the Anal Teens category? Here are ten more clips from the Anal Teens category.
These days, the curation is much more sophisticated. AI can analyze the scene you just watched, compare it to another you’ve seen in a completely different category, and then serve up ten other clips that appeal to your unique tastes — not just a category classifier—the algorithm of Me.
Don’t get us wrong; there are some drawbacks — such as the lack of suggestion diversity, bias, and cold start problems. This is where humans, specifically data engineers, are still required to keep the systems in check.
But when expertly implemented, artificial intelligence is incredibly skilled at getting us hooked, making porn sites stickier than ever.
The Human Touch: Adult Jobs AI Can’t Replace (Yet!)
AI changes so fast — is there any adult industry job it can’t replace or at least enhance?
For now, there are a few jobs that seem considerably safer than others:
Porn directors may be able to use AI to identify trends and analyze their audience’s data, but the tools cannot comprehend emotion. They can’t yet turn data points into a believable porn movie. AI doesn’t have the intuition or creativity that humans do. After all, it can’t think abstractly or subjectively. Yet.
What would you choose if you had to trust a human or computer to serve up arousing content?
Human, every day!
Of all the subject matters to set AI loose on, sex is one of the most innately human. A creative director doesn’t have to rely on machine learning to calculate something as enticing as a stray moan or to recognize its place in the scene.
Not to mention, AI’s tendency to throw in an extra hand here, or a spare set of toes there, are mood-wreckers in the heat of the moment.
Those with vision — like creative directors — will be pulling rank on the machines for the foreseeable future.
Quality Control and Assurance
If your job is to ensure that the machines are running as they should, you will have plenty of employment opportunities now and in the future.
Quality control is critical for any system that relies heavily on AI.
AI can rapidly scan content for moderation, removing videos or photographs containing illegal or inappropriate acts or depictions. However, that doesn’t mean it can accurately assess the quality of the footage on any site or ensure it maintains a company’s standards.
In fact, AI is capable of some terrible blunders.
Thus, quality control and assurance in the adult industry are essential.
With emotional intelligence and the ability to think creatively, this is one area where Man will remain in charge of the Machine.
Pretty Much Any Sex Work
If we look beyond the porn industry, sex work is a billion-dollar adult industry that has been around since… well, probably the start of time.
It’s hard to imagine AI ousting escorts from their career paths, although we’d expect to see a rise in virtual companions and perhaps even non-human ‘physical companions.’
Like robot dolls brothels. 😮
What Are The Ethical Considerations of AI in Porn?
The biggest stumbling block for AI in the porn industry isn’t training the algorithms. It’s doing so while staying on the right side of the moral argument.
Easier said than done.
We can’t simply ignore the not-so-healthy implications of AI in adult entertainment, especially when the technology is accessible to those with harmful intentions.
Deepfake technology has been around since 2017.
When its popularity boomed, individuals used it to put the faces of female celebrities on the bodies of NSFW film actresses. This ability to put anybody’s face onto another person’s body can be utilized as an extension of revenge porn.
The generated videos/images are so realistic that victims often struggle to refute them.
According to a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, Sophie Maddocks, AI-generated and deepfake porn normalizes using individuals’ images or looks without their consent.
Victims of inauthentic, deepfake porn are bullied and harassed, as popular Twitch streamer QT Cinderella can attest after discovering a fake naked video of herself online.
In the wrong hands, AI-generated porn is harmful, and it’s up to regulators to put legislation in place to ensure perpetrators face repercussions for misuse.
But it’s also up to every porn company relying on this technology to take responsibility.
How Big Is The AI Threat?
If you work in the adult industry, there are justifiable reasons to be concerned but also optimistic.
AI can help streamline and speed up workflows in the adult industry, making content creation, analysis, discovery, and distribution better than before. This greater efficiency should remove some of the drone work that is inherently better suited to machines.
But isn’t that a callous position?
“Drone work” is still work. Many hard workers employed by the adult industry will be rightfully concerned that AI is coming to take their lower-paid admin jobs. The low-margin nature of the porn industry doesn’t lend itself to jobs for the sake of jobs.
If a position can be ‘optimized,’ it will.
Likewise, for amateur creators and performers, there has never been a more critical time to focus on building a bond with the consumer that goes beyond adult content as a commodity. AI can already serve up half-decent porn pics. Videos won’t be far behind. A ‘human touch’ will be vital to evading the AI threat.
Yes, the human touch. It’s still essential. Regardless of how sophisticated algorithms become, they cannot think outside the box, show empathy, or have emotional intelligence.
They don’t ‘get’ sexy like a human gets sexy.
Machines might be able to calculate what adds up to a smash-hit scene, but it’s not easy to get a human to agree with it. This is the hope that thousands of adult industry jobs are pinned on.