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TV review: Another Body: My AI porn nightmare, Tonight: Rishi Sunak: Up close, and Domino Day

16 February 2024

ALAMY

The programme Another Body: My AI porn nightmare (BBC4, Tuesday of last week) described how AI was used to create fake images of a US student

The programme Another Body: My AI porn nightmare (BBC4, Tuesday of last week) described how AI was used to create fake images of a US student

A PICTURE is worth a thousand words. But what if the picture is utterly, maliciously, wrong? Another Body: My AI porn nightmare (BBC4, Tuesday of last week) revealed a disgusting development easily available through technological advance – one, in my culpable innocence, new to me.

A clean-living, high-achieving US student, Meredith Klein, was warned to check images of her circulating on the internet: she found that someone had transposed her own face on to highly explicit pornographic images and films — not only broadcasting to the world that she relished flaunting herself in the most compromising manner, but advertising her college and address.

Not only was she shocked, appalled, and terrified, she felt, although utterly innocent, dirty and unclean. Friends who saw them, although knowing them to be completely fake, could not erase the images, such is the power of a picture to lodge in the mind.

Most victims of this burgeoning crime of deepfaking (although the police could not decide if it even was a crime) disconnect all their IT, and retreat into frightened solitude. Ms Klein fought back, discovering more and more women similarly targeted, and working out with forensic brilliance who the perpetrator must be. Only one of her fellow victims dares to continue to pursue this villain openly through the courts: Ms Klein still lives in such fear that, paradoxically, even this exposé gave her a false name and had her portrayed by an actor.

Our corporeal personhood, hitherto expressed inextricably by our faces, our bodies, and our voices, is, in this brave new world, completely at the mercy of digital manipulation. An IT tool for creative fun is now a weapon for deadly assault, destroying people’s very identity. Theologically, perhaps subverting the body degrades the very soul.

So constant and unremitting was his wide, open grin, permeating Tonight: Rishi Sunak: Up close (ITV1, Thursday of last week), that I began to wonder whether, unworthily, it was similarly an IT enhancement. Anushka Asthana sought to reveal the man behind the PM. She offered us heart-warming scenes of family breakfast, and took him back to his family home; but her questions did not probe deeply enough. I would have liked to hear more about his Hindu moral principles: how did they inspire, for example, his immigration policy?

Beware Manchester nightclubs: according to a stylish and full-blooded new series, Domino Day (BBC3, Wednesdays), they’re permeated by a coven of witches. Domino herself shamelessly seduces young men, then sucks the very life out of them. I’m all for women fighting back: this, though, does appear somewhat extreme.

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