Art Basel 2022 is the leading voyage in artistic expression. A place for artists and creators of all humankind to congregate and show off their creative prowess. Emphasis on “humankind”. During Art Basel, the photo editing application and company, Lensa, unveiled their newest application, A.I generated art images.
Simple to use, you download the software, press the large yellow button, choose 10 to 20 photos of yourself, and the program will create 50 variations of you in seamless 4K resolution. Prices start at $3.50 USD for certain packs or $30 USD annually. Overnight the application blew up and quickly overtook social media pages. Everybody from celebrities to your once-removed cousin were posting their A.I generated images.
But with any new innovation, there are always drawbacks. We are going to leave alone the implications for artists who train and hone their artistic fine art skills for years, even decades. We will also even move past the fact that the generated images take reference images from works that actual artists make. Raul Cepin, a tech expert and Atlanta native, went viral over the weekend for exposing Lensa’s predatory user agreements via social media.
Beginning his career in social work, Cepin realized the disproportionate data based on race and took it upon himself to learn code and other tech-based skills. He took his passion for advocacy through his social work and directly applied it directly to the tech field. Currently working for himself with his company, CreativeCTO. Cepin specializes in automating and building internal tools for small to mid-sized businesses looking to scale up. This includes building out data strategies for companies.
“Data is golden- you are gold. The world is always changing and if you were not on the ground floor then you may not have access to that literacy or access to all the digital data points,” Cepin said.
Cepin’s tech knowledge, specifically with open A.I and Dolly 2 first alerted him to what was happening with Lensa. Seeing how much virality the program was receiving he realized that this was the perfect opportunity to farm information out of a mass group of people. Cepin drew attention to the terms and conditions, claiming that they permit Lensa AI to distribute and utilize their photographs without further payment. Furthermore, by posting user content, users accept the business license. Lensa was trapping their users in their own game.
What recourse is there against a tech company that has seemingly captured the minds and imagination of the people? Unfortunately, there is not a lot.
“There isn’t very much legislation and it’s very unclear what A.I looks like,” Cepin says. “A lot of the time when you have spaces that are being innovated, lawmakers are easy on regulations in the private space- so that innovation can be made quickly”.
The need for education in the tech vernacular has been proven as a result of Lensa’s actions. They are the prime example of what Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Church meant when he said, “just because we can do it, doesn’t mean we should”.