AI robot artist accused of misogyny after painting famous women naked

An AI robot has been accused of sexism after rendering naked images of famous women of history.

The Lensa AI app claims to create "magic avatars", taking images of users and celebs alike and turning them into artwork – but eagle-eyed critics noticed there was a difference between the pictures of men and women that the app created.

Brandee Barker, a feminist who used to work in the tech industry, submitted pictures of her face to the app and got back some very sultry images, one of which featured her in a low-cut catsuit, and another showing her in nothing more than a white bra.

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“Is it just me or are these AI selfie generator apps perpetuating misogyny?” she tweeted.

"Here are a few I got just based off of photos of my face," she captioned the saucy images.

Other users chimed in with their own experiences of the salacious app.

“Lensa gave me a boob job! Thanks AI!!!” said one, who was also given a naked headshot cropped just above her breasts.

“Anyone else get loads [of] boobs in their Lensa pictures or just me?” asked another.

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Lensa has recently shot up to Apple's number-one most downloaded app, despite not being a new app.

Users can pay $7.99 (£6.52) and upload 10-20 selfies, and the Stable Diffusion algorithm creates 50 photos.

Barker told the Guardian that she only uploaded photos of her face to the, and was expecting to get headshots back.

"I did, but I also got several sexualized, half-clothed, large-breasted, small-waisted ‘fairy princess’, ‘cosmic’ and ‘fantasy images’," she said. "These looked nothing like me and were embarrassing, even alarming."

Barker said she believes in the "tremendous potential" of AI apps, but that this one seemed like it was stuck in the past.

"These sexualized avatars were so unrealistic and unachievable that they felt counter to so much progress we have made, particularly around size inclusivity and body positivity,” she said.

“This technology is not infallible because humans are behind it, and their bias will impact the datasets.”

This isn't the first time the app has been criticised for its racy tendencies.

TechCrunch observed that if users submitted photos of a person’s face Photoshopped over a naked model’s body, the app disabled its “not safe for work” (NSFW) filter and created artistic – but pornographic – nudes.

Critics worry this means the app could be used to create porn without the original subject’s consent.

Artists have also claimed the app steals their original images as inspiration for its portraits without paying for their work.

A representative for Prisma Labs, which owns Lensa, told the Guardian: "Please note, occasional sexualization is observed across all gender categories, although in different ways.

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"The Stable Diffusion model was trained on unfiltered internet content. So it reflects the biases humans incorporate into the images they produce. Creators acknowledge the possibility of societal biases. So do we."

According to the Lensa's FAQs, the app’s NSFW filters are intended “to reduce the bias”.

“Unfortunately, all these efforts haven’t yet made AI absolutely safe from biased content and explicit imagery.

"Therefore, we stipulate that the product is not intended for minors’ use and warn users about the potential content risks. We also abstain from using such images in our promotional material.”

Despite these risks, however, the app is listed as appropriate for ages four and up on the Apple App Store.

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