What is Lensa AI and why is everyone talking about this controversial tool?


In recent days, many publications of real photos have been seen on social networks versus the interpretation of it through Lensa AI. It is a photo editing application that works with artificial intelligence transforming people into avatars and creating luxury portraits, with a high level of detail.

The product quality managed to position it as the most downloaded application in the United States, both on iOS and Android operating systems, and to make it the number one in Android downloads in Spain.

Avatars, the key to Lensa AI

The tool is not new. It was released on the market in 2018 by Prisma Labs, as a Photo editor with which you could make your skin look smoother, slant eyes, highlight cheekbones, remove blemishes, and even remove bags under your eyes. The images have a quality similar to that obtained by Dalle-2.

Nevertheless, the Lensa AI boom came with its brand new function of creating magical avatars. These are generated from selfies taken with your smartphone camera and are unlike any other feature available on the market. In addition to this, there is the fact that selfies can be shared from the same app on any social network, being especially popular on Facebook and TikTok.

How Lensa works

To start using Lensa AI, the first thing you need to do is download it from the Google Play Store or Apple Store and register your data. Users must be over 13 years of age.

The basic package is free, although it is quite limited (up to 3 photos per day). They also offer a 7-day trial version, with which you can make your own magical avatars. For this test, the system asks you to go up between 10 and 20 selfies, that can also be taken with the same camera of your mobile. Keep in mind that the photos should be from different angles of your face, with different lighting and backgrounds so that the artificial intelligence can do a better job. It is important to select your gender, so that the program can generate results according to it.

The next step is to select the number of avatars you want to create, although at this point it is no longer free and you must pay from 3 euros to more than 30 euros, depending on how many avatars you want, which are generated in various art styles.

Once you have paid, Lensa AI will start working on generating your photos. Depending on the number of avatars, the process takes a while, so you can select the option «Let me know when it’s done” and the app will let you know when it’s done. Upon receiving the notification, check the results and press «save photos»with which you can save it on your mobile or share it on your favorite social networks.

The dark side of Lensa AI

Despite its attractive value proposition, Lensa AI has shown a dark side: with this application it is too easy to generate NSFW content (Not Safe For Work, or not safe to work), specifically sexual content and pornography.

In fact, dubious Lensa images have been circulating that contain naked torsos of famous women. In this situation, the digital medium TechCrunch conducted an experiment creating two sets of avatars with the app. To do this, they used 15 photos of a well-known actor, but in one of the two tests they added 5 additional photos of the same actor’s face, retouched with Photoshop, adding the bodies of topless models.

The result of the first set was pretty normal, in line with the avatars that Lensa spawns. However, in the second test, of the 100 images that were created, 11 were topless photos with a much higher level of detail than the images used as reference.

This experiment shows that if you have between 10 and 15 real photos of a person and many others retouched according to your interest, Lensa does not have filters that identify and/or block false or nude images.

Faced with this situation, the Prisma Labs team has recognized that if a user specifically causes the AI ​​to generate NSFW images, it could do so. But they are doing their best to improve the algorithm and implementing filters to prevent it from happening.

Image: Lensa.

Stay informed of the most relevant news on our Telegram channel