Viral Photo App Lensa Uses Your Selfies to Develop AI – Robb Report

Viral Photo App Lensa Uses Your Selfies to Develop AI – Robb Report

Photo editing app Lensa became hugely popular in the past week as social media has been flooded with people posting AI-generated selfies from the app’s latest feature.

For $3.99, Lensa users can upload 10 to 20 photos of themselves and then receive 50 selfies generated by the app’s artificial intelligence in a variety of art styles.

But before you hit the buy button, a word of caution: Lensa’s privacy policy and terms of service stipulate that the images users submit to generate their selfies, or “Face Data,” can be used by Prisma AI, the company behind Lensa, to further train the AI’s neural network.

An artificial neural network like the one used by Lensa, or the popular text-to-image generator Dall-E 2, studies huge amounts of data to learn how to create better and better results. To be able to convert simple sentences into surprisingly well-crafted images, Dall-E 2 was trained on hundreds of millions of images to learn the connection between different words and different visual properties. Similarly, Lensa’s neural network continuously learns how to depict faces more accurately.

This facial data, which includes position, orientation and facial topology, is harvested using Apple’s TrueDepth API – the same facial tracking features that allow iPhone users to unlock their phones with their face just by looking at the screen. It is this facial data that is fed into the neural network. However, this facial data is not sold to third parties.

For writer and former model Maya Kotomori, who recently uploaded her own Lensa selfies, it’s unclear whether or not these AI-assisted generators are problematic. In the artistic community, apps like Dall-E 2 have been controversial as illustrators worry both about their income being affected and the possibility of their work being stolen to feed neural networks. In many cases, users have used AI generators to spit out images in the style of certain artists, without their consent or payment.

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However, what is the effect when individuals give up their own faces?

Kotomori said she bought two packs of selfies because the first set of snapshots made her look like a white woman, even though she is a light-skinned black person. After submitting more photos and paying a second time, Kotomori received selfies she was more than happy with.

“As a light-skinned black person, I definitely think the AI ​​drew a lot of conclusions based on my skin tone. The second batch I got back looked more like me,” Kotomori wrote in a direct message. “Then I kind of started kicking myself—did I just help teach an AI how to recognize racial nuance? How might this help/harm society in the long run? The answer is: I have absolutely no idea.”

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