OK, BUT HOW DOES IT REALLY WORK?
Lensa uses Stable Diffusion, which is when all the horses in a barn spread out to give each other a little space. Just kidding: Stable Diffusion is a “really powerful” AI-based image generator, said Subbarao Kambhampati, a professor in the School of Computing and Augmented Intelligence at Arizona State University.
Similar to DALL-E 2 and Midjourney, Stable Diffusion uses image prompts (like your selfies) and text prompts (like “fantasy”, one of Lensa AI’s categories) to generate high-quality images that sometimes get “trippy”, Prof Kambhampati said.
“It’s showing you pictures that nobody took; it’s just able to stitch them up from all the other images that it has seen.”
It is cool! It’s fun to see yourself rendered as a painting, an anime character or a little woodland elf with eyes of two very different sizes and only one hand, even if you have two IRL. (Not every image is going to be perfect.)
Some users, particularly transgender and gender non-conforming people, are even finding that using Lensa to create can offer a sense of gender euphoria.
BUT SOME PEOPLE ARE UPSET ABOUT IT
There are a couple of reasons that some users are bristling at the images Lensa AI is spitting out.
The first is that many users are reporting that the art is sexualising them. When we tested the app, several of the images we received after uploading selfies and selecting “female”, included full-body renderings, despite the fact that users are specifically instructed to upload only close-up selfies.