What is Lensa AI?

Lensa AI isn’t a new app. But its recent popularity is due to an update to its core technology. PrismaLabs is a California-based AI development company that created Lensa AI. Prisma was also popular five years back with its other app, Prisma. It was an image editor, not an AI-driven online image generator. Instead, it offered many artistic image filters that could transform any photo into Renaissance-like artworks. While most filters could be used locally for free, there was an additional fee for premium category filters.

Lensa uses AI algorithms to create a variety of images from inputs by users. It produces images that are quite different from the one it was given. One example is that a user can upload their selfie and select the category they would like to see. Within 30 minutes, they will receive a series AI-generated images that are based on their selfie but that are fundamentally different.

The trial period costs around $4 (Rs330) and is not free. This phase allows users to generate five sets AI-based art using five selfies. Each set of AI-based art will provide a user with 10 results. This means that users will receive 50 images in return for $4. The $35.99/Rs3,000 annual subscription to the service will allow you to generate 10 selfies per year.

Why Lensa AI is important?

Lensa AI is an AI program that creates text and art. ChatGPT is an AI chatbot developed by AI research firm OpenAI. This bot can generate very lengthy, accurate stories using just a few words or lines of text.

OpenAI built Dall-E along with ChatGPT — an AI image generation tool based on generative adversarial networks, or GANs. Based on just a few lines of text input, bots were able to create different types of painted and illustrated art. Dall-E also spurred the development of many other apps like Midjourney, which are currently available for free (at most, during a trial phase).

Lensa AI is the latest AI text-and-image generator. This AI tool creates noise and gains popularity by using user inputs to produce advanced forms of art. These works look nothing like those created by professional artists. Experts, including artists, tech engineers, and human rights advocates, raise concerns about the ethics behind these AI platforms. They also concern the potential impact it might have on creative fields that have largely relied on human intelligence and sentiments.

How does it create so many different versions of the same image?

Lensa AI uses a type AI called “Stable Diffusion” — which uses an input picture and a few words to serve as the point-of-reference and juxtaposes it with millions more images to create contextual art. Lensa AI is able to transform a selfie from a user into science fiction art if they upload a selfie and select their gender.

Why are both users and artists concerned about Lensa’s ethics?”

Although users are posting Lensa selfies to the internet, privacy specialists and artists have raised concerns about Lensa’s use of user data. For instance, Karla Ortiz, an award-winning illustration artist who has worked with the likes of HBO, Marvel Studios, Ubisoft and Universal Studios for over a decade, told NBC that (https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/internet/lensa-ai-artist-controversy-ethics-privacy-rcna6024) Lensa seemingly used some of her creations, without consent, to train its AI algorithm.

Ortiz responded by describing the service as “forgery”, art theft, and copying.”

Lensa’s privacy policy, according to users, could also be used to misuse user data. It uses data to provide, improve, test and monitor effectiveness, “provide personalized information and content to (users),” “diagnose or correct technology problems related to Lensa”.

Cnet highlighted (https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/lensa-ai-selfies-what-to-know-about-the-app-everyones-using/) that the fine print of Lensa’s privacy policy states that once a user uploads their personal data, they are granting Prisma Labs a “perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable, sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, distribute, create derivative works of your User Content.”

Are there any concerns with nudity or Lensa?

A TechCrunch report and test of Lensa’s app found that when the service is fed selfies of celebrities, coupled with malicious and unauthorized Photoshop hack-jobs of celebrities combined on nude bodies, the AI generator creates authentic-looking nude images (https://techcrunch.com/2022/12/06/lensa-goes-nsfw/) of the artists as well — thereby legitimizing unauthorized nude images of users who may not even know about it.

A New York Times also highlighted issues (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/12/07/style/lensa-ai-selfies.html) with body image appropriation. Lensa’s creations made a user look slimmer, according to a user who uploaded her selfies in order to create AI art. NYT was told by a Germany-based marketing executive that the service should also be able to detect fat people.

“Even though I can imagine myself as a fairy, or as an idealized fantasy version, I still want to be me,” the user said.

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