Lensa AI Magic Avatars
Released: November 2022
Photo editing app Lensa AI's Magic Avatars use AI to transform selfies into anime, painting, or drawing versions of oneself in the style of popular artists. The service is proving highly popular, with Lensa quickly shooting to the top of Apple's charts for photo and video apps.
Lensa's Magic Avatars app may be proving successful but is also causing controversy due to its lack of safety guardrails, privacy concerns about how user data is being used, the alleged re-use and manipulation of artists' work without their knowledge or permission, and fears for the future of digital artists' jobs.
Privacy: Lensa has raised concerns about people using others' photos inappropriately, including generating nudes of celebrities and other people they have photos of without their consent. Questions have also been asked about how long Lensa keeps images uploaded to its servers, and how users can opt-out of training datasets such as LAION - on which Stable Diffusion, which powers Lensa - is based.
Employment: Like other AI generators, Lensa Magic Avatars has led artists, illustrators and others to wonder what the future holds in store for their jobs when works in their styles can be automatically be generated at very little cost and without their explicit permission, and to encourage people not to use the app.
Like many similar services, information about Magic Avatars privacy and copyright obligations are buried in Prisma Labs terms, which appear ambiguous.
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Published: December 2022
Last updated: January 2023