But it also raised a lot of questions, like: can you commit a sexual crime against a piece of code?
“It was simply overwhelming, we were inundated, swamped by an avalanche of men,” says Hans Guyt, whose organization first deployed Sweetie.
To be sure, Sweetie marks an historic advance in identifying predators. Indeed, it could not have been, as previously, in order to make predators believe they were talking to a 10-year-old girl with the confirmation they wanted, they would need to see video footage of a real 10-year-old girl interacting with them live on screen, which would have broken a number of international laws and put the health and safety of the girl at risk. But it also raised that question: Did any of these 1,000 predators actually commit a crime? It was a proof of concept application to inspire global law enforcement agencies to realize how much more could be done to fight child exploitation using advanced technology.
The secrecy is necessary to avoid backlash from culprits.
The result was a ultra-realistic 3-D model of a 10-year-old Filipino girl that would fool even the most accomplished Hollywood blockbuster animator.
The development of Sweetie itself took six months and, though Guyt wouldn’t divulge the software or the coding language used to make Sweetie, it’s likely that it was rendered in Maya.
They are either young prostitutes trying to survive and make some money or they are children forced by their parents.
They won’t come out either to testify against their own families. This is live streaming video and when the perpetrator switches off the computer, the evidence is gone. We should therefore intervene before a crime is committed.
She’s not even a “she.” Sweetie is an “it.” And it’s code.