A woman on TikTok said she paid an artificial intelligence program to generate professional images of herself, but the longer she looked at the final products, the stranger they seemed.
Kelly Baums, who lives in Chicago, told her TikTok audience she paid a mere US$17 for 100 photos of herself, all generated by an AI program known as Try It On.
She collected the strangest ones to share in a video, which included photos of her with her hands missing, extra limbs added on and weird expressions on her face.
“It cannot grasp the concept of your hands or teeth,” one viewer said.
“The hands scare me (so much),” another said.
But some viewers in the comments were scared of Baums’ photos for other reasons. Not because they were bad – but because some of them were too good.
‘Concerned photographer here’
For many of the disturbing photos, there was a good photo, too, Baums shared – which was a red flag for some photographers in the comments.
“This will take photographers out of a job that is already hard to make money at,” one person commented.
Depending on the experience and equipment a photographer is using and the time of a shoot, a professional portrait session can cost anywhere between US$100 and US$300 per hour, according to Expert Photography. In comparison, the amount Baums said she spent on the AI program is pocket change.
“Concerned photographer here...” another said.
Baums’ video about AI-generated photos isn’t the only one that has gotten attention on TikTok.
Others on TikTok have shared their own AI-generated photos with similar results – many awful and unusable portraits, but a handful of stunning and realistic options.
Baums said in the video that it was the best US$17 she spent that week.
‘People aren’t worried enough about this’
Other forms of media generated by AI have been in the spotlight, too, including artwork and music. The new age of AI-generated media has some professionals and experts on edge, they say.
Artist Karla Ortiz told NBC News that AI-generated software brings “forgery, art theft (and) copying to the masses.”
But others have said AI can’t replace art created by humans, and some have pointed to the potential benefits of AI.
Artist Mateusz Urbanowicz told NBC News that, while AI might be able to replicate someone’s work, “only that person can make their unique art” and AI can’t “make the art that they will make in 20 years.”
Aza Raskin, co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology, told NPR that AI could come with potential benefits and said eventually it will be something society has to learn to live with.
But he told the outlet “that’s very different than having these technologies baked into fundamental infrastructure” before it’s clear whether they’re safe.
Andrey Usoltsev, CEO of Prisma Labs, told NBC News that the technology has the potential to be used as a tool instead of a replacement.
“As AI technology becomes increasingly more sophisticated and accessible, it is likely that we will see AI-powered tools and features being widely integrated into consumer-facing apps at a rapid scale. We’d like to be a part of this ongoing conversation and steer the use of such technology in a safe and ethical way,” Usoltsev said, according to the outlet.
The submission process for Try It On doesn’t specify if the person requesting the photos has to be the same person in the photos being submitted, raising the question of whether a person could make AI-generated pictures of someone without them knowing.
McClatchy News reached out to Try It On for clarification and is awaiting a response.
After the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School professor Ethan Mollick made a fake video of himself giving a fake lecture using an AI program, he told NPR he realized the changes the technology could mean for the future.
Mollick told NPR that he’s excited about the potential for AI tools to boost creativity, but concerned about potential implications of “generative AI.”
“I think people aren’t worried enough about this,” Mollick told NPR. “I’m somebody who’s actually pretty pro this technology in a lot of ways. But I also think that we’re not ready for the social implications of being able to spoof people at scale. ... The idea that you could do this for anyone is sort of a new phenomenon.” – The Charlotte Observer/Tribune News Service