You might have seen a few of your friends on Instagram and Twitter post stylistic AI portraits based on their faces. And some of the results look pretty cool. But there are a couple of things you might need to know before getting yourself into these AI portraits by Lensa.
So, what is this new trend?
Prisma Labs released Lensa AI, a project that lets users make their own avatars based on their own faces with the power of AI. Users are able to download the app, and upload 10 to 20 pictures of themselves on it to receive up to hundreds of AI-generated artwork.
The results, as I saw posted by several people I followed on Instagram, were pretty good. The project took in the likeness of a user and made them look at least 2 times cooler—making them look futuristic, or like they belonged in a painting.
I have to admit, I was curious about having my own pieces done. I liked the idea of it and I didn’t see the harm in trying it out at first. But it wasn’t long until I found out that the app wasn’t free—it cost USD 3.99 (RM17.65) for 50 avatars.
Why paying for it can be a problem
For some people, RM18 might not be a big deal to give in order to get some AI portraits done. But for a lot more people, RM18 is way too much—and you won’t even know if the portraits would be worth it when they’re sent to you.
A user on the app’s review section mentioned that out of the 100 photos they paid for, only 5 of them are decent. They added that they have “fingers that look grotesque, eyes that are colored incorrectly, faces that are deformed or dismembered,” and that their head was either cut off or completely missing in photos.
But it’s not just about how worth-it the results needed to be. Artists have spoken out about not getting paid or credited for work that appears in the app’s database—some alleged that it is stealing.
“Artists dislike AI art because the programs are trained unethically using databases of art belonging to artists who have not given their consent,” said a digital artist to Buzzfeed News.
Additionally, like a lot of AI platforms, Lensa has a bias problem based on race and gender. An activist tweeted that the generator app is “perpetuating misogyny”—as her results showed her in sexualised poses and exaggerated features. Women of colour also mentioned that Lensa whitened skin and anglicised features.
“… I kind of started kicking myself—did I just aid in teaching an AI how to recognize racial nuance? How can this help/hurt society in the long run? The answer is: I have absolutely no idea,” said writer Maya Kotomori.
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