Outrage as AI-Generated Images of High School Students Circulate

(RightWing.org) – Like all emerging technologies, artificial intelligence (AI) has its pros and cons. It’s great as a research tool and provides phenomenal results with photo enhancements. On the flip side, there’s widespread concern foreign actors might use AI to disrupt the 2024 elections. In the meantime, a group of New Jersey students found another nefarious use for its capabilities, sparking widespread outrage.

On November 2, media outlets exploded with the news that female students attending New Jersey’s Westfield High School recently discovered that their male classmates were posting inappropriate photographs of them in chat groups. They were horrified not only at the horrendous invasion of their privacy but also at the fact the images were fake.

As it turned out, the male students created the photos using an online tool powered by AI. School officials confirmed the outbreak of incidents in an email sent to parents. However, a spokesperson for the Westfield Public School District declined to answer media inquiries regarding the scope of the problem. Similarly, the district refused to confirm whether it took disciplinary action against any of the students involved in the incidents.

The Wall Street Journal reported that much of the controversy surrounding the photos involves what, if anything, officials should do about their creation and public distribution. For instance, the parents of some of the girls affected say it’s a typical transgression committed by teenage boys that should be forgiven by victims, school officials, and law enforcement officials.

On the other hand, some parents are calling for harsh punishment, even criminal prosecution, for anyone involved in the incidents. A few have contacted media outlets, telling them their daughters felt humiliated by the situation. They also said they had concerns regarding what might happen to their children should the images surface again.

The New York Post reported that local law enforcement officials launched a criminal investigation after several parents reported the situation. Likewise, State Senator Jon Bramnick (R) has called for a formal inquiry. His district includes Westfield.

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