On Second Thought: What’s Wrong With AI Art?

What’s wrong with AI Art?

Perhaps it is human nature to have your likeness expressed into a work of art. You’ve been seeing these lovely little illustrations everywhere on your instagram. That is the work of a popular new AI app called Lensa that charges you $8 to turn your selfies into ‘artistic illustrations’. Sure, it looks pretty cool to see your boring old self transformed into an avatar straight out of a video game, a magical kingdom, or a manga comic book. But how much do we REALLY know about it? How safe or ethical is AI Art?

For every selfie you upload, Lensa  gives the company access to your face data.

Buzzfeed News investigated: The father company, Prisma Labs, has terms and conditions that state that users “retain all rights in and to your user content.” At the same time, using the app grants the company “perpetual, revocable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, fully-paid, transferable, sub-licensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, create derivative works” with your photos. That means the company owns the rights to any digital artwork made from using your selfies in the app. Lensa’s private policy (separate from the terms and conditions) states that the company “does not use photos you provide… for any reason other than to apply different stylised filters or effects to them.” If that is so, is the company just using consumer photos to further train their AI? Users are not compensated when the company uses their images for AI training, per Lensa’s user agreement. 

Steals from existing artists all around the world.

Artists dislike AI art because the programs are trained unethically using databases of art belonging to artists who have not given their consent. Artists combine reference material, personal taste and personal experiences to channel into their art, while AI directly uses other people’s artistic property already existing on the internet. Prisma Labs has offered the statement that AI can never replace art as it is merely an “assisting tool”. Artists are afraid that AI is putting people out of jobs.  The following example does lend some credibility to their fears: The San Francisco Ballet used Artificial Intelligence to design their Nutcracker poster – a job that was previously done by a human being. 

Sexualises women and anglicises people of colour.

White Man’s burden, anyone? Do we even have to talk about how problematic this is? Think of your children. Please.

If you want to have your portrait painted/taken/illustrated/sculpted, commission a living, breathing artist who will take the time out to get to know you and talk about your vision, and add human connection to the piece of art they will make for you.

Artist, critic and a self proclaimed historian. I write about the this and thats, odds and ends, and etceteras of the art world.

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