Lensa Ai, everything you need to know to use it safely

Lensa Ai, everything you need to know to use it safely

Lensa Ai

Has it been too long since you last updated the old selfie you use as your profile picture? You've probably already come across Lensa Ai , the popular app for creating colorful and personalized illustrations that transform portrayed subjects into ethereal fairies or staid astronauts. Prisma Labs, the company behind Lensa, went viral in 2016 thanks to a similar (albeit less powerful) app that turned smartphone photos into paintings.

The launch of the " Magic avatar" feature on Lensa has proved to be a global success for the company. Recent advances in generative artificial intelligence (AI) allow the app to produce far more varied and impressive results than its predecessor. According to preliminary estimates provided by Sensor Tower, more than four million people worldwide downloaded the app in the first five days of December. In the same period, users spent more than eight million dollars on Lensa Ai.

AI-generated profile pictures have always raised questions on the digital privacy front. For those curious as to whether using Lensa is actually a good idea, we've rounded up the things to consider before spending some money and uploading your selfies to the app.

Always read the privacy policy

Before diving in, take a minute to read the privacy policy and terms of use to better understand how the app uses your data. “We must always be aware when our biometric data is being used for any purpose. It is sensitive data. We should be very cautious,” explains David Leslie, director of research ethics and responsible innovation at the Alan Turing institute and professor at Queen Mary University of London.

Andrey Usoltsev, chief executive officer and co-founder of Prisma Labs, said in an email to sportsgaming.win US that the company is working on updating its privacy policy. " Lensa uses a copy of the Stable diffusion model , which it teaches to recognize the face on uploaded images for each particular case. This means that there is a separate model for each individual user – writes Usoltsev -. User photos are deleted from our servers as soon as the avatars are generated. The servers are located in the United States".

Although it is impossible to know exactly how a company uses and stores your data without an independent evaluation, Usoltsev's statement represents a step in the right direction. That said, however, it should be remembered that uploading is only a small part of a larger issue.

Security beyond photos

While initially fears may focus on biometric data, it is also essential to understand how much other data is automatically collected by the smartphone. Lensa may use third party analytics, log file information, device identifiers and logged in user information to collect data about you. For further verification, consult section 3 of the app's privacy policy.

Users can opt-out of data collection by contacting the company at privacy@lensa-ai.com. For those using an iOs device, there is the possibility not to participate in data collection by accessing the privacy settings. It's not just about Lensa: every app on your phone is probably collecting more data than you think. Even if you decide to entrust your personal data to Lensa, it is possible that these will change hands in the event that the company is acquired in the future. "This is especially the case when the data flows to larger companies, which are much better at telling bullshit," said Ben Winters, AI and human rights project manager at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (Epic).

Images of minors or nudity

Inserting images of children or nudity to generate images goes against the terms of use of Lensa. Even without uploading nudes, however, the results produced by the app can be hypersexualized for women. “ The app not only generates nudes, but also gives the images sexualized cartoon-style features, such as sexy poses and gigantic breasts. For example, I have obtained several results with full nudes despite having only uploaded photos with my head ”, writes on sportsgaming.win US Olivia Snow. When Snow uploaded photos from his childhood, the app generated disturbing and dehumanizing images: "Since the feature was not designed for minors, we recommend not using images of children," writes Usoltsev.

Lensa can also produce sexual images of adults without their consent. " It is a potential case where not enough thought has been given to how to protect people's dignity – says Leslie -. When technologies can cause damage, we are required to do everything possible to anticipate such consequences".

Offensive results

In addition to weird fingers and extra heads, generative AI can also produce racist or sexist results. “The Internet is filled with images that push Ai image generators toward topics that might make them uncomfortable, whether they're sexually explicit images or images that can turn Ai portraits into racist caricatures,” says Epic's Grant Fergusson.

The impact on artists

While some artists are embracing the potential of generative AI, others are much more hesitant about the possible repercussions of the technology: "The commercialization of these image generators it will impact artists' livelihoods in the long run,” Leslie explains.

While a more expensive option, those with the means to do so should consider commissioning artists to create work digital such as profile pictures, phone wallpapers or portraits. Instagram and Twitter are full of artists adopting styles that can't be reproduced by generative AI. For a modest fee, you could end up with truly unique and personal works.

Delete the app after use

Let's assume that you have considered all the points above and have decided to spend a few euros to purchase a pack of Magic avatars. Once you've saved your creations, take a look at the photo and video editing features on Lensa. Do you plan to use them frequently or do you expect the app to collect digital dust on your smartphone along with many others? “Check your settings, delete the app after use, and exercise any rights they give you,” Winters recommends to anyone concerned about data collection.

This article originally appeared on sportsgaming.win US.

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