The rise of social media has sparked various trends and challenges over the years, but the latest one seems to have a touch of nostalgia. Instead of going back to school to have their yearbook photos taken, social media users are now turning to an AI photo editing app called Epik to create their own virtual yearbook photos. The app’s AI Yearbook feature has gone viral, capturing the attention of influencers and users alike.
Epik’s AI Yearbook feature allows users to upload their selfies and generate 60 different images showcasing different hair styles, outfits, and poses. The photos, seamlessly combined from the submitted images, are generated by the app’s advanced artificial intelligence. The quality of the photos has impressed many viewers, with some even questioning whether they are real or AI-generated.
To access the photos, users can download the app for free but need to pay a fee ranging from $5.99 to $9.99. However, due to the overwhelming demand, some users are experiencing delays in using the app. They can choose between “standard” or “express” delivery options, with standard delivery taking up to 24 hours and express delivery promising the photos in under two hours.
Influencers and celebrities have been quick to jump on the trend, using the app to create ’90s-inspired school photos. Beauty guru Bretman Rock, YouTuber Hila Klein, Twitch streamer Pokimane, and actress Keke Palmer are among the notable figures who have shared their AI-generated yearbook photos on social media.
While the app has garnered praise for its realistic results, some users have expressed disappointment. Bretman Rock, for example, paid for the service twice but was not satisfied with the results. He jokingly questioned, “Yalll I’m DYING… who are these people?”
Despite its popularity, concerns about data privacy have been raised by critics. As the popularity of AI photography apps grows, questions about safety, privacy, and ethics have become more common. Some worry that personal photos uploaded to these apps could be used to compile user data without their knowledge or consent.
There is also a debate surrounding the ethics of creating images with models that have been trained using other people’s original work. With the rise of AI-generated content, concerns have been raised about plagiarism and the potential impact on artists and creators.
Writer Franchesca Ramsey has urged people to reconsider participating in the yearbook trend, warning that by paying to train AI programs with their own photos, they may inadvertently contribute to potential legal and ethical concerns. In a Twitter post, Ramsey stated, “AI plagiarizes from artists & is actively putting ppl out of work. folks are passing around fake images to deceive ppl & the tech is getting better bc of your high school pic trend.”
Amidst these concerns, Epik’s parent company, SNOW Corporation, has reassured users that their personal information and selfies used to create AI yearbook results are not stored by the app. The company claims to adhere to privacy policies to protect user data.
Epik’s AI Yearbook feature has undeniably captured people’s attention, with its ability to create realistic and customized yearbook photos. However, the ongoing debate surrounding data privacy and ethical considerations raises important questions about the implications of AI-generated content and its impact on society. As technology continues to advance, these concerns will require careful consideration to ensure the responsible use and development of AI applications like Epik.