Lensa AI (Product Review)

My summary of Lensa AI before using it – Lensa is a new AI app that lets users create avatars of themselves.

How does Lensa explain itself in the first minute? – When I search for Lensa AI in the app store, there are visuals of avatars and examples of using Lensa AI for professional retouching and editing of images.

Image Credit: screenshot
Image Credit: screenshot

How does Lensa AI work? – Users can generate “mind-blowing avatars from your photos with one of the most advanced AI ever created.” I can select a type for my avatar, choosing between humans and dogs & cats.

Image Credit: screenshot
Image Credit: screenshot

Once I’ve selected a type, I see a “what to expect ” with a checkbox to confirm that I’m 18/21+.

Image Credit: screenshot

The “What to expect” message is interesting. There’s a risk that the AI used by Lensa “may generate artefacts, inaccuracies and defects in output images”. At the end of 2022 there were well publicised issues around hyper sexualised avatars generated of some female Lensa users, which Lensa has been trying to address through its generative AI, updates to its privacy policy and risk warnings like the one above. I then need to select my gender and pick a style.

Image Credit: screenshot
Image Credit: screenshot
Image Credit: screenshot

Once I’ve uploaded about 10 selfies, I land on a check out screen. This is somewhat unexpected since I thought I was on a free trial. By this time I’ve gone through the trouble of taking and creating my selfies, and I just want to create my avatar.

The copy on the check out screen suggests that Lensa AI is aware that some users might be thrown by having to pay for their avatar: “Magic Avatars consume tremendous computation power to create amazing avatars for you. It’s expensive, but we made it as affordable as possible.”

Image Credit: screenshot
Image Credit: screenshot

After a while, my pack of avatars is generated. The avatars feel pretty ‘safe’ and unspectacular 🙂 This is most probably due to the the limited variety in the ten selfies that I provided to Lensa’s AI.

Image Credit: screenshot

Main learning point: Lensa AI has been incredibly popular and I can understand why. The app is easy to use and designed for users that want to make the most of their social media. At the same time, I see the security concerns about the storing of selfies uploaded as well as the avatars generated.

Related links for further learning:

  1. https://www.wired.com/story/lensa-ai-magic-avatars-security-tips/
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2022/dec/09/what-does-the-lensa-ai-app-do-with-my-selfies-self-portrait-photos-magic-avatar-generator-gone-viral
  3. https://www.thenationalnews.com/arts-culture/art-design/2022/12/09/lensa-ai-security-concerns-regarding-app-behind-colourful-selfies-on-social-media/
  4. https://news.bloomberglaw.com/privacy-and-data-security/viral-lensa-ai-art-app-revamps-privacy-policy-amid-backlash
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aveaoj4Ar0k
  6. https://www.technologyreview.com/2022/12/12/1064751/the-viral-ai-avatar-app-lensa-undressed-me-without-my-consent/
  7. https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/internet/lensa-ai-artist-controversy-ethics-privacy-rcna60242

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