The Download: how to combat deepfake porn, and Neuralink’s first implant

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Last week, sexually explicit images of Taylor Swift, one of the world’s biggest pop stars, went viral online. Millions of people viewed nonconsensual deepfake porn of Swift on the social media platform X, which has since taken the drastic step of blocking all searches for Taylor Swift to try to get the problem under control.

This is not a new phenomenon: deepfakes have been around for years. However, the rise of generative AI has made it easier than ever to create deepfake pornography and sexually harass people using AI-generated images and videos.

Thankfully, there is some hope. Our senior AI writer Melissa Heikkilä has set out three ways we can combat nonconsensual deepfake porn. Read the full story.

Read Melissa’s open letter to Taylor Swift in the latest edition of The Algorithm, our weekly AI newsletter. While the reality is that there is no neat technical fix for this grim problem, Swift’s stature means that she has the rare opportunity—and momentum—to push through real, actionable change. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Monday.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Neuralink has implanted its first device in a human brain, says Musk
He also said the patient is recovering well from the procedure. (WSJ $)
+ The company is yet to share any more concrete details, though. (Wired $)
+ Elon Musk wants more bandwidth between people and machines. Do we need it? (MIT Technology Review)

2 Microsoft has made changes to the AI tool used to create Taylor Swift deepfakes
It closed spelling loopholes in its Designer tool that circumvented its ban on generating nude images. (404 Media)
+ X has lifted its temporary ban on searches for the pop superstar. (WSJ $)
+ The amount of deepfake porn online is likely to skyrocket. (Slate $)

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