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Dec 13, 2022

Lensa AI is Popular But Should You Worry?

By Bobby Carlton

In November the Lensa AI app saw a 631% increase in downloads since the month before.

I’m sure you’ve seen your friends, family members, and work colleagues post a new stylized profile pic of themselves that looks like an artist took months to paint and that they most likely paid a lot of money to commission. However the truth is each photo was created by an AI powered app called Lensa.

The app itself isn’t new. It has actually been around since 2018 but just recently found some new legs and became a social media viral sensation. As a matter of fact the app is so popular that it has quickly become one of the most popular apps in the iPhone App Store's Video & Photo section.

Downloading the app won’t cost you any money, however, you'll have to pay $4 to add up to 20 photos to its editing feature. After that, you'll receive 50 avatar images based on your submitted photos. There is also a subscription that will cost you $8 a month, and an annual one which costs $30.

This past November Lensa AI was downloaded 1.6 million times. Up 631% since October, and has made $29 million since its launch. For my own research I paid the $4 fee to get a bunch of images created. I'll admit, I was pretty impressed and could see why people would use them for their social media profiles. Not only do they look cool, but the AI managed to make you look cooler than are in real life! I'm posting one of my photos below and I am NOT EVEN CLOSE to being this cool.

But that's the charm of Lensa AI.

Lensa AI
Image created by Lensa AI

Along with your AI created photos, you’ll also have the ability to use the Lensa AI app to add a variety of effects to your photos, such as blurring backgrounds, skin retouching, and more. 

Lensa AI, created by Prisma Labs has become very popular with users, but with popularity comes privacy concerns. Some are now questioning how the company uses the data collected by the app. For instance, they can use the images that you upload to the app to train its AI.

According to the company's privacy policy, Lensa AI doesn't use your photos for anything but its own effects and filters. However, it allows the company to collect other information about you.

The terms of use of the app also provide the company with a license to use your photos. It says that you grant the company a perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide, license to reproduce, modify, distribute, and create derivative works of your photos. This includes the creation of other works of art.

Lensa AI isn't the only app that is getting attention these days. ChatGPT is another AI powered app that is getting people talking about how AI will impact our future while at the same time having Tech Crunch run the headline, "Is ChatGPT a ‘virus that has been released into the wild’?

Try ChatGPT out for yourself here.

A representative of the company told CNET that after a batch of photos has been created, they're deleted from the company's servers. The copy of the individual model also gets removed. Every time a user adds a new batch of avatars, the process of duplicating and deleting them gets repeated.

After you've submitted your photos to the app, you can take action to ensure that your data is being used properly. You can contact the company's privacy department by sending an email to privacy@lensa-ai.com. You can also ask to remove the permissions that your images have been granted to be used in advertising.

Lensa’s privacy policy adds that it may reach out to you to better understand your request "in case of a vague access, erasure, objection request or any other request in exercise of the mentioned rights." The company also reserves the right to "refuse granting your request." So another thing to consider before ponying up your money to create an AI powered photo. Keep in mind that your request could take up to 90 days to process.

If you decide to use the Lensa AI app, it’s recommended that you carefully read the terms and conditions, as well as the privacy policy, to know what you're getting into.

AI is a powerful tool and will be a big piece of technology for Industry 4 and Web3, we just don't want to give it too much unnecessary power.

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