(NewsNation) – Everyone has posted their Lensa AI photos – and the posts of people depicting themselves as artificial avatars are going viral.
It has become a phenomenon in social media in recent weeks. The Artificial Intelligence art app has spawned millions of downloads, but has also sparked a wave of controversy.
Celebrities have been showing off their AI art in droves. Everyone from Chance the Rapper to NBA star LeBron James and DJ Steve Aoki posted pictures of their magical avatars. Millions of others have too.
The souped-up selfies originate from the photo editing app Lensa AI. It uses uploaded images to produce rendered artistic images and charges users to get it done.
Some warn that voluntarily uploading personal photos can pose a security risk and privacy threat to personal data.
Jim Anderson, AI expert and Beacon CEO, talked about some of the potential dangers of providing images to unknown apps.
“Think about it, you take a picture of yourself and it changes and evolves using some AI trained on an unknown set of databases. What about racial inequality issues? What about the sexualization of women? You know, it’s a number of things like that, that when you start trying to understand, okay, how has this AI been trained? And is it trained responsibly enough? I don’t think we know completely. But I think we’re going to see some examples where it is not good. And they have to find a way to combat those things,” Anderson said.
Many prominent voices, including actress Megan Fox, have criticized Lensa and its parent company for allegedly sexualizing their avatars. Fox complained that most of them were practically naked.
“Were everyone’s avatars equally sexual? Like, why are most of mine naked,” Fox wrote on Instagram.
Anderson says that with everything from the Lensa app to Chat GPT to self-driving cares like Tesla, AI is here to stay.
“Not only will it be common, it will be pervasive, you won’t even be able to avoid it. I mean, it’s just so useful and so remarkable in so many ways. And like you said, it’s integrated into your car and your watch yours, and you know, it’s going to be incorporated in all kinds of places, and it’s actually going to be increasingly difficult to opt out, if that’s what you want to do. Because it’s like a lot of technological innovations, if it’s useful, and if it saves people money or, you know, gives them some benefit, it’s just going to be everywhere,” Anderson said.
Regarding Lensa’s policies, the company said it automatically deletes personal data within 24 hours of processing it. Nevertheless, many are skeptical.
Anderson said the best thing users can do is judge how reputable the app or company is before sharing information. He said asking people to read the terms of an app is unrealistic, and some may be intentionally difficult to decipher. He says people should stick with companies they trust, especially as AI like Lensa becomes more common.