If you’ve been on social media lately, it’s likely you have stumbled across the self-portraits users are posting that are powered by artificial intelligence.

The images are brought to life through Prisma Labs’ Lensa AI, an “all-in-one image editing app that takes your photos to the next level,” the company’s website states.

To bring the “magic avatars” to life, users are required to upload 10 to 20 photos of themselves to unlock a slew of AI artwork.

“Six years ago, @prisma made a blast turning photos into art with the power of #neuralnetworks. Today @lensa.ai, the project by Prisma Labs team, is taking it one step further with mind-blowing AI avatars! This is not a filter or an effect. These AI avatars are generated from scratch but with your face in mind. Upload 10-20 pictures, give it a few minutes, and get hundreds of artworks created by #artificialintelligence for you,” a post shared on Prisma Labs’ official Instagram page read.


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How Lensa Impacts Creators

Although many users are seemingly indulging in what they believe is harmless, some don’t appear to be as impressed. The feature has drawn controversy as social media users have accused the application of taking stolen images from creators.

What’s more, rather than paying artists for digital images, more users have been flocking to Lensa for a price that starts at $3.99 for 50 images.

“I see the appeal, it’s cheap and fast and seems harmless. But, these AI are actively hurting real artists who have actually worked to be as good as they are. Real art shouldn’t be cheap or fast because art is born from passion and dedication,” voice artist Jenny Yokobori wrote on Twitter.

Another tweet read, “Friends. This Lensa app everyone’s using uses the Stable Diffusion model. This uses the Laion database which is the most insidious one, containing millions of stolen artworks, medical photos and stolen/illegal intimate content. Please be mindful about these things.”

Privacy Policy

Outside of the impact of creators, it is important to note Lensa’s privacy policy.

Images submitted could be used by Prisma Labs in order to train the company’s AI.

“You grant us a perpetual, revocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable, sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, create derivative works from and transfer your User Content, without any additional compensation to you and always subject to your additional explicit consent for such use where required by applicable law and as stated in our Privacy Policy (the “Company License”). The Company License is for the limited purpose of operating, developing, providing and improving Prisma and researching, developing and improving our existing and new products, including but not limited to Prisma, unless you have provided us your additional explicit consent for the different purpose where required by applicable law,” a statement from the company’s terms and conditions reads.