Laguna Beach High School investigates AI-generated images of students

Laguna Beach High School administrators have launched an investigation after a student allegedly created and distributed “inappropriate images” of other students using artificial intelligence.

It is unclear how many students are involved in the scandal, what precisely the images contained or how they were distributed.

In an email to parents on March 25, Principal Jason Allemann wrote that the school administration is “taking steps to investigate and directly address this issue with those involved, while using this situation as a teachable moment for our students, reinforcing the importance of responsible behavior. and mutual respect.

The Laguna Beach Police Department is assisting in the investigation, but a department spokesperson declined to provide details about the investigation because the individuals involved are minors.

Orange County High School joins a growing number of educational institutions grappling with the use of artificial intelligence in classrooms and social settings.

In schools across the country, people have used deepfake technology combined with real images of female students to create fraudulent images of naked bodies. Deepfake images can be produced using a mobile phone.

Last month, five Beverly Hills fourth graders were expelled for their involvement in creating and sharing fake nude photos of their classmates. Students superimposed images of their classmates’ faces onto simulated naked bodies generated by artificial intelligence. A total of 16 eighth-graders were targeted by the photos, shared via messaging apps, according to the district.

A 16-year-old high school student in Calabasas said a former friend used AI to generate pornographic images of her and circulated them, KABC-TV reported last month.

Teenagers aren’t the only ones targeted by AI-created images. In January, AI-generated sexually explicit images of Taylor Swift were shared on social media. The situation prompted angry fans to call on lawmakers to pass legislation to protect against the creation and sharing of deepfake images.

“It’s a very difficult space and technological advancements and capabilities are happening at a very rapid pace, which makes it that much more difficult to understand,” said Amy Mitchell, executive director of the Center for News, Technology and Innovation, a policy research center.

Several federal bills have been proposed, including the Intimate Image Deep Forgery Prevention Act, which would make it illegal to produce and share sexually explicit AI-generated material without the consent of the people depicted. The Disrupt Explicit Forged Images and Non-Consensual Edits Act, or DEFIANCE Act, which was introduced this year, would allow victims to sue the creators of deepfakes if they knew the victim did not consent to its creation.

In California, state lawmakers have proposed extending laws banning revenge porn and child pornography to computer-generated images.

School districts are also trying to master technology. This year, the Orange County Department of Education began holding monthly meetings with school districts to discuss the use of AI and how to integrate it into the education system.

But the problem of manipulated images like those circulating at Laguna Beach High School is getting worse as technology becomes more widespread and easier to use, experts say.

Artificial intelligence technology, coupled with widespread social media use among teens who may not fully understand the consequences, appears to be an intractable problem, said Sheri Morgan, a Laguna Beach resident whose daughter attended Laguna Beach High School.

“I think the social media that exists today further emphasizes this false sense of what you need, what you want, what you should look like and how you should be perceived by people,” he said. -she declared. “We talk to our kids a lot about the impacts of technology and social media and we get lost in the distractions, but it’s a challenge.”

In Laguna Beach, district officials did not detail possible disciplinary options administrators were considering. The district said in a statement that each incident “is handled on a case-by-case basis taking into account the individual circumstances of the situation.”

The high school, which has more than 1,000 students enrolled, plans to host roundtable discussions on AI-generated content for students during the school day. The panel will include the school resource officer, counselors, psychologists and digital media and library specialists, Allemann wrote in a follow-up email to parents Friday.

“In our small community, these incidents can have a significant impact on our campus culture,” Allemann wrote. “These actions not only compromise individual dignity, but also undermine the positive and supportive environment we wish to foster at LBHS. »

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