Home Tech ‘Miss AI’ is billed as a leap forward, but it feels like a monumental step back | Arwa Mahdawi

‘Miss AI’ is billed as a leap forward, but it feels like a monumental step back | Arwa Mahdawi

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 'Miss AI' is billed as a leap forward, but it feels like a monumental step back | Arwa Mahdawi

METERMeet Madame Potato. In reality, she doesn’t exist, but, if things go my way, she will be the world’s first “Miss AI.” I recently created her image on a website that generates AI faces and then entered her in a beauty pageant. Now I’m sitting there waiting to win the grand prize of $20,000.

What new hell is this, you ask? Well, I regret to inform you that AI beauty pageants are now in fashion. A company called Fanvue, which is a subscription-based content creation platform similar to Onlyfans, recently partnered with the World AI Creator Awards (WAICA) to launch the world’s first “Ai Creator Awards”.“Miss AI Contest”. A team of judges, made up of two humans and two virtual models, will select AI-generated photographs of women and choose one to crown “Miss AI.” The winner receives a cash prize along with the opportunity to monetize her creation on Fanvue.

How are the winners chosen? It seems, obviously. But the judges will also look at the character’s number of followers and his “personalities.” The app includes questions like: “If your AI model could talk, what would be your one dream to make the world a better place?” (Madame Potato’s answer: uniting the world through a shared love of starchy tubers.) The judges will also take into account the technical skills behind the character’s creation.

A WAICA press release notes that the pageant “represents a monumental leap forward: it is launched almost 200 years after the first real-life beauty pageant was held in the 1880s.”

However, instead of being a “leap forward,” it feels like a monumental step backwards. AI models do not alter traditional beauty standards, but rather exaggerate them. They take all the toxic gender beauty norms and bundle them into one completely unrealistic package.

Just take a look, for example, at the two AI models that judge the competition: Aitana Lopez and Emily Pellegrini. Pellegrini was designed by an anonymous creator who said they asked Chat GPT what the average guy’s dream girl is and then designed the model exactly along those lines. Which means: long hair, big breasts, perfect skin and a sculpted body. Pelligrini, who, again, is a purely digital creation, supposedly makes thousands of dollars on Fanvue and has famous footballers come into her Instagram direct messages because they believe she is a real person.

The other judge, López, considered “the first AI model in Spain” and who can apparently “earn up to 10,000 euros a month” working as a model for brands, was trained along the same lines. López’s creators, who run a AI modeling agency called The Clueless, have ignored criticism of their sexualized appearance, arguing that they are simply responding to market forces. “If we don’t follow this aesthetic, brands won’t be interested” one of the creators he told reporters. “To change this system you have to change the vision of the brands. “The world in general is sexualized.”

So is this the future? Will human models be completely replaced by AI? The Clueless folks certainly seem to hope so. “[Brands] They want to have an image that is not a real person and that represents their brand values, so that there are no continuity problems if they have to fire someone or can no longer count on them,” founder Rubén Cruz told Euronews. And all of that makes sense. Why wouldn’t brands want to use models that never age and over which they have complete control?

AI models are not going to completely dominate. Some brands, including Dove (which positions itself around “real beauty”) they have even committed not use AI to represent real people in your advertising. However, it seems inevitable that we will see more and more AI-generated influencers enter the mainstream. It also seems inevitable that being bombarded with completely unrealistic beauty standards is not going to do much good for the psyche of young people. Kids as young as 10 are already dangerously obsessed with skin care and anti-aging products thanks to TikTok influencers. There has also been a huge increase in people in their 20s who receive “preventive Botox” to protect themselves from wrinkles. A proliferation of AI influencers, with their flawless, line-free faces, will be an even greater boon for the plastic surgery and cosmetics industries.

Are the creators of “Miss AI” worried about its potential detrimental impact on beauty standards? Not precisely. Sally-Ann Fawcett, a beauty pageant historian and one of the two real-life judges, told Forbes that she hopes the competition will be very inclusive. “This is not about butts, tits and fantasy figures,” the judge said. “Creators have the opportunity to change the public’s perception of women with AI and I hope to participate in that as well by selecting a winner who represents the modern world.” Which is very reassuring to hear. However, Fawcett may want to ask the Miss AI Pageant to update her website. Because, at the moment, everything is homeless, tits and fantasy figures.

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