Reviews about LENSA Artificial Intelligence Mobile Application

Launched in 2018 by Prisma Labs as a photo editing app, Lensa has recently gone viral with its new magic avatar (“Magic Avatars”) feature generated by artificial intelligence. Lensa rose to the first place in the list of popular free applications in the iOS store after the feature was announced.

Users can purchase fantastically styled digital portraits of themselves for a fee, provided they upload 10-20 selfies.

Prisma Labs has already faced accusations of “inadvertently” producing sexualised images in cartoon format, including those of children, despite warnings of “no nudity” and an “adults only” policy.

The CEO and co-founder of Prisma Lab said that this behaviour only occurs if the AI is deliberately encouraged to create such content in violation of the rules in the terms of use, adding that “if the person is determined to engage in harmful behaviour, any tool has the potential to become a weapon”.

Some critics suggest that you are paying to give up your own personal data for the sole purpose of being a cog in training facial recognition systems.

Lensa’s privacy policy says it does not use photos for any reason other than to apply stylised filters or effects, and that facial data is automatically deleted within 24 hours of being processed. Prisma Labs said in a statement that users’ images are only used to create their own avatars.

Noteworthy Points in Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

When using the Magic Avatars feature, users consent that their photos can be used to train Lensa’s neural network algorithms, but that the photos will be deleted after the avatars are created by artificial intelligence. Lensa may allow users to upload, edit, create, store and share content, including photos and videos. Lensa does not claim ownership over this so-called user content.

During the use of Lensa, face images (photo or video) can be uploaded by users to Lensa. To make it possible to use certain functionalities of Lensa, the human face images (photo or video) to be provided will be processed through TrueDepth API technologies and will provide Lensa with information about the positions, orientations and topologies of human faces.

Lensa does not have access to the original uploaded photos and they are stored only on the user device. The data to which Lensa has access consists of the technical characteristics of the photo; as mentioned above, it is only anonymised information about face positions, orientations and topologies. None of the information collected by the TrueDepth API ever leaves the user’s device or is permanently stored on the device.

The privacy policy states that this data, defined by Lensa as “face data”, should be considered personal data.

Facial data is collected and stored for online processing. Face data can be transferred from user devices to Lensa cloud providers (Google Cloud Platform & Amazon Web Services). The photos are transferred in an anonymised form in line with the above description and are deleted 24 hours after processing by Lensa. If the Magic Avatars feature is used, the photos are automatically deleted after the results are generated.

Facial data is not used to identify or authenticate any user, for advertising, marketing or similar targeting purposes. Therefore, since the aim of identity verification, which is one of the primary conditions of biometric data, is not pursued, the relevant data will not qualify as biometric data, which is in the category of special categories of personal data and is subject to severe processing conditions both in Turkey and in the world.

In order to use the Magic Avatars function, Lensa will process facial images and photos provided by users with Stable Diffusion AI Technology.

Stable Diffusion is a text-to-picture deep learning model launched in 2022. It was primarily used to create detailed images based on text descriptions, but has become applicable to other tasks such as interior painting, exterior painting and creating image-to-image translations. In the image-to-image modification capability, it was said to be able to add noise to the original image and to be used for data anonymisation as the visual properties of the images are changed.

In the light of these explanations, it would not be wrong to interpret that the photos uploaded by users are anonymised by the Magic Avatars process and become anonymised data due to modification, although they are derived from user photos.

However, in any case, it is important to keep in mind that these data are images derived from the personal data of real people. Considering that the Metaverse will not enter our lives in the very distant future, it seems inevitable that visual face data derived in this way will become important in the coming days, even if not today.

Although the uses of this data cannot yet be predicted even by the pioneers of the sector, it may be useful to evaluate how important it is for us to see an improved and beautified version of ourselves in accordance with traditional perceptions, together with the drawbacks that may arise in the future.

For example, there is no provision that prevents LENSA from treating your magic avatar based on your photograph as an artefact created in its system and selling it to a company wishing to advertise on the Metaverse.

Although the application is fee-based, it is quite clear that the profits generated will not be solely from subscription fees when considered in conjunction with future use cases. Although LENSA’s policy frequently mentions the deletion of image data obtained from users, it does not make clear statements about the fate of images created through its application.

A Non-Fungible Token (“NFT”) is a unit of data stored in a digital ledger called a blockchain that certifies that a digital file is unique. With the use of NFTs, the field called digital art has gained a completely different dimension with an accelerated development because digital artists started to produce signed works through NFTs.

It is quite clear what concerns the NFT explanations will raise in the subject matter. If the magical avatars produced within the application can be characterised as LENSA intellectual property, it is technically possible that these works can be sold as NFT. The owners of the faces may not be able to claim ownership over these artefacts derived from their own photographs. This is because a defence can be made that the genetics of the owned photographs have been tampered with and a completely different work has been created.

We will have to wait to find out whether the unclarified expressions are conscious or unconscious, because we can infer from its popularity that the phenomenon called “curiosity” does not make any risk serious enough.