Lensa AI Magic Avatars generates nudes from childhood photos

Occurred: December 2022

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Childhood photographs of academic Olivia Snow uploaded to Lensa AI's Magic Avatars system generated fully nude images, raising questions about the product's governance.

Despite only uploading headshots of herself, Snow, a research fellow at UCLA’s Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, described in WIRED how Magic Avatars generated nudes from her childhood photos. 

According to Snow, 'many users—primarily women—have noticed that even when they upload modest photos, the app not only generates nudes but also ascribes cartoonishly sexualized features, like sultry poses and gigantic breasts, to their images.'

The incident prompted commentators to express concerns about the ineffectiveness of Lensa's no nudes policy. Lensa blamed users, saying that any pornographic images generated by Magic Avatars are 'the result of intentional misconduct on the app'. 


Operator: Olivia Snow
Developer: Prisma Labs
Country: USA
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Create avatars
Technology: Neural network; Deep learning; Machine learning
Issue: Privacy
Transparency: Governance


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