SEX

This Neural Network Can Identify Porn Stars’ Faces

Pornstar.ID uses a reverse image search to identify female performers

SEX
Illustration: Diana Quach
Mar 23, 2017 at 2:26 PM ET

Neural networks have been touted for everything from detecting heart disease to discovering new galaxies — but now a team of developers has found a new, innovative, and surely life-changing use: figuring out who that attractive woman is in the porn clip you’re watching. The future is here.

Pornstar.ID is a simple little web app — you go to the home page and enter an image URL or upload a photo from your computer. It then searches a library of more than 650,000 images of 7,000-plus different female porn performers. You’re then delivered a page of results: typically dozens of porn stars listed by closeness in facial match, according to the neural network. For example, I uploaded a photo of Keisha Grey and it returned Lucia Love as a 78 percent match, Grey herself as a 14 percent match, and so on and so forth. So, it’s imperfect, but fairly reliable at connecting you to the woman in question.

“The founders behind the project are adult webmasters from the [90’s] and were running some of the largest networks back then,” said John Miller, one of the site’s founders, in an email. “While most of us are in the mainstream online business these days we noticed the huge progress in neural networks during the past few years and decided to launch an ‘intelligent’ adult website once again by using today’s available technologies.”

The main use case here is someone browsing a tube site like Pornhub or xHamster and coming across a video that fails to identify the female performer. Perhaps it’s love at first sight — and, alas, there are no Missed Connections for porn. Theoretically, you can take a screenshot of the action, upload it, and find out the stage name of the mystery woman. Soon, Pornstar.ID plans to incorporate video identification, so that users can upload full clips rather than stills. No, it isn’t a life-saving application of a neural network, but it’s a legitimately useful application in the age of pirated porn, when so much content ends up so far from where it originated.

It’s important to note, though, that this kind of technology can be especially ripe for abuse. Last year, the Russian app FindFace, another neural network with face recognition capabilities, was used to dox porn performers and escorts. Trolls took to message boards to expose the private social media profiles of sex workers, along with their legal names, and encouraged each other to harass the women’s friends and family with their nude photos and videos. Thankfully, Pornstar.ID’s facial recognition capabilities are limited to its library of professional photos of female performers.

The best case scenario here is the people use Pornstar.ID to identify favorite performers so that they can, you know, actually pay for their content.