Cam girl site uses facial recognition to match users’ photographs to performers

Cam girl site uses facial recognition to match users’ photographs to performers

‘Find a live sex doppelgänger of someone you know!’

By James Vincent @jjvincent Sep 23, 2016, 10:11a

An adult webcam site claims to be the first ever to use facial recognition technology to help users find “sex doppelgängers” of people they know. Individuals can upload photographs of anyone’s face — it could be a stranger, a celebrity, or an acquaintance — and MegaCams.me will use facial recognition tech to find an adult performer who looks similar. “This way it feels like you are having live sex with the person in your picture,” promises the Belgian company behind the site.

MegaCams isn’t disclosing where the facial recognition tech is coming from (to be expected considering the purpose it’s being put to), but TechCrunch reports that the API is actually Microsoft’s. Microsoft offers a number of machine learning tools as part of its Cognitive Services API scheme, letting developers access features such as natural language processing in the cloud. Many of these services are free for limited use, with costs scaling with demand. In the case of Microsoft’s facial recognition tool, Face API, the company offers developers 30,000 free uses each month, with each 1,000 uses after costing $1.50 a batch.

A LIMITED POOL OF PERFORMERS MEAN MATCHES AREN’T LIKELY TO BE EXACT

TechCrunch’s Natasha Lomas notes that despite MegaCams’ promise to deliver “doppelgängers,” the actual results produced by the tool are not that accurate. (You can read Lomas’ story here and see the not-so-similar-looking performers that were matched with her photograph.) This is most likely to be a reflection of the limited pool of webcam models using MegaCams. At the time of writing we weren’t able to test the tool for ourselves as there’s currently a waitlist of nearly 10,000 photographs to be processed.

Speaking to The Verge, MegaCams denied that the tool was creepy or harmful. “People are watching their girl next door all the time,” said a spokesperson for the site who gave their name as Eddy L. “If they don’t use this tool they click and click forever until they find the doppelgänger in porn. We just give them the tools right now to make that search easier.” Eddy L added that there are already communities on sites like Reddit that are dedicated to finding lookalike porn stars and webcam performers based on users’ photographs.

“PEOPLE ARE WATCHING THEIR GIRL NEXT DOOR ALL THE TIME.”

But even if MegaCams’ tool is inaccurate, the increasing capacity of computers to process human likenesses as digital information is only going such instances more common. For example, there are people who use 3D data from video games to create animated porn, and there are tools that convert photographs of people into 3D models. Combine the two together and you can infer that it’s theoretically easy to turn creepshots of strangers into pornographic models. In fact, human nature being what it is, it’s probably already happened.

Like Eddy L, you can argue that there is conceptually no difference between this sort of behavior and simply fantasizing about strangers (or acquaintances) in your head. However, you can argue that moving from imagination to images on screens does represent a qualitative difference. It perhaps even encourages the sort of obsessiveness that might lead to behavior like stalking or even sexual assault. When asked about this, Eddy L said he did not believe that MegaCams’ facial recognition tool encouraged any untoward behavior. And when asked how he would feel if his own image was used, he replied: “I would see the funny side of it not the creepy side of things.”

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