Here's How to Get Your AI Self-Portrait for Social Media

A new app that generates digital portraits has taken social media by storm.

If you've been on Instagram over the last few days, you've probably been bombarded with an array of expertly crafted portraits. It might seem as though everyone on your timeline just finished art school, from your friends to your enemies to that girl you met last weekend while in line for the bathroom at the club.

Well, that's not exactly the case. That digital art is being churned out by an app called Lensa. The app uses artificial intelligence to generate shockingly realistic avatars out of all the selfies you submit. Essentially you upload around 20 photos of yourself, and the app's AI processes the images to generate avatars of you that look like a digital artist created them.

You'll have to start with a seven-day free trial to get your own set of portraits. The app allows you to skip this, but you won't be able to access any of its AI tools. Just be sure to cancel on time, or you'll be charged $39.99 for a year's worth of unlimited use.

Lensa image pictured left, Jeremy Porr pictured right. | Lensa

Once you're all signed up, you'll have three tiers to choose from. At the lowest price tier, you'll have to pay $3.99 for 50 unique avatars (five variations of 10 different styles). From there, it goes up to $5.99 for 100 unique avatars (10 variations of 10 different styles) and then $7.99 for 200 unique avatars (20 variations of 10 different styles).

The app has seemingly sparked outrage, much like anything that goes viral on the internet. First, from actual artists that have noticed the app is copying their signature style, and then, of course, from people that just don't enjoy seeing others have a good time. Oh, and then there's the swath of people concerned about privacy.

Lensa and its parent company Prisma are no strangers to controversy. The company's privacy policy has come under fire in the past for some stipulations that seem a bit sketchy.

Lensa maintains that it "do[es] not use photos you provide...for any reason other than to apply different stylized filters or effects to them." Still, the company retains personal data for an unspecified amount of time.

If you've already been through the process of attaining your digital portraits and are concerned about how your images are being used, you can email to request "access to, modification, correction, update, erasure or deletion" of any personal data, the company says.

On the other hand, if you're concerned about privacy and already use facial recognition technology to get into your phone or access your banking apps, what do you really have left to lose?

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Jeremy Porr is a News Writer at Thrillist. Follow Jeremy on Instagram.