Lensa AI, artificial intelligence with questionable ethics

In the last few days, social networking platforms have been invaded by some unusual internet user selfies. “Have you noticed that many of your friends have become princesses or astronauts?” ironic New York Times.

Lensa AI, a recently released artificial intelligence application, offers its users to upload some of their selfies. Thanks to its advanced technology, the application will then study the image and generate portraits. “Your face, or something similar, has been stretched or shrunk over a series of 50-200 images […] from an AI, with themes like cosmos, princesses and anime”, details the American daily.

“Pick a gender – male, female or whatever – and leave your phone in a corner for about half an hour, then find out the result.”

A sexualization of portraits

For almost a week, Lensa AI has topped the App Store’s list of most downloaded apps. But the technology has its limitations, and in recent days criticism has emerged. Many users have particularly condemned the sexualization of the images. “When we tested the app, after uploading selfies and selecting the female gender, many of the images received resulted in full-length representations, while users were instructed to only provide tighter selfies”, witnesses New York Times.

Bare bodies, enhanced breasts, artificial intelligence seem to be taking liberties that aren’t to everyone’s taste. “Sexualization is occasionally observed regardless of the chosen gender category,” admits the developer, Prisma Labs, on its website. This makes many people fear a diversion of this technology for the benefit of revenge porn (“revenge porn”).

Another aspect of the application seems questionable, as summarized by the paper: artificial intelligence “is taken from the creations of many artists who have not given express permission to use their works”. Some creators were therefore surprised to recognize their paw in the portraits made by Lensa AI and denounced a copyright infringement.

An argument that does not hold water, according to Prisma Labs: “Just as the cinema did not kill the theater and accounting software did not eliminate accountants, artificial intelligence will not replace artists, but can be a great help.”

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