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When fun times lead to hard times - 11

A little while ago Snapchat debuted a "gender swap" filter. I'm unclear as to how complex this was to make, especially in the era of cloud computing and freely available neural nets and machine learning models that can apply themselves to images and video, but it has been intriguing enough to catch and keep a whole lot of attention. It not only increased Snapchat's userbase but it has quickly made the rounds in a variety of persisting memes.

Pretty fun all by itself, but here's where it gets interesting.

In California, a college student used the gender filter to draw people who seek out minors for sexual contact, creating a Tinder profile for a 19 year old girl who later reveals she is a 16 year old girl ("there's levels to it you and I know" - Kendric Lamar). And he caught one. A police officer, no less, who has been charged with one account an of communicating with a minor with the intention of engaging in sexual activity, and has been booked into a county jail at the end of a lengthy investigation..

There's a bit to unpack here. There's the level of sophistication in the filter, at least enough to drastically reduce the cost of successful catfishing campaigns. Maybe we'll see a revival of that TV show. There's the concerning fact that this is someone in law enforcement. I'm curious how much this can influence the range of his imprisonment. And finally just the sad absurdity of it all, but at the end of the day I'm glad this particular campaign worked.


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