Those AI Art Selfies Are Actually Really Problematic — Twitter Users Explain The Underreported Consequences

If you’ve been online the last week or so, you’ve probably noticed those AI art selfies that everyone seems to be posting.

The AI-generated art comes from a company called Prisma Labs whose app, Lensa, is the hot thing right now.

For about $8 a month, the app will scan all your pictures and generate 50 seemingly original pictures, ranging in style from anime to watercolors to superheroes.

Lensa has been around for a few years but last month they released a new feature called “Magic Avatars,” which are AI-generated digital self-portraits.

And the feature has become wildly popular, shooting to the top of the free app category in Apple’s App Store.

Lots of people from celebs to regular folks have jumped on the trend of making their own AI art selfies.

AI art selfies
AI art selfies
AI art selfies

But lots of people are saying that the app — and others like it — has significant drawbacks that people aren’t paying attention to.

For starters, that app is collecting a LOT of data on you. That’s something we probably know subconsciously about most apps, but it’s worth remembering.

Katie Love, the CEO of Love Social Media, told CBS News that you should definitely read the fine print before signing up.

“Your privacy, the usage data, the internet protocol, the IP address, and cookies that you’re using may be collected, and Lensa is then using the data they’re collecting from people to refine their AI art,” Love said.

BuzzFeed News also dug into Prisma’s terms and conditions and they state that the app grants the company “perpetual, revocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable, sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, create derivative works” with your photos.

Meaning that they keep the rights to any digital artwork that’s made from YOUR selfies.

AI art selfies

And some artists have claimed while those AI art selfies are fun, they’re also stealing the work from actual artists.

The artist Lauryn Ipsum pointed out some pretty blatant theft in this tweet.


She followed up with some examples.

AI art selfies

And others have charged that the app is problematic on another level, because it seemingly sexualizes a lot of its subjects.

Here are a few examples of people noticing things like bigger boobs.

AI art selfies
AI art selfies
AI art selfies

Others accuse the app of straight-up racism and changing their features. Others have noticed that the app has lightened the shade of certain skin types.

AI art selfies
AI art selfies

Bottom line: While these AI art selfies are fun, be careful. Read the app’s terms and conditions and make sure you know what you’re getting into. If you’re cool with that, then go for it.


Brian Gaar

Brian Gaar is a writer and standup comedian based in Austin, Texas.

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