Ross: Is AI inclusivity real, or does it not count if they aren’t human

Apr 17, 2023, 7:17 AM | Updated: 9:10 am


BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 04: A model walks the runway at the EIKO AI show during the Barcelona 080 Fashion Week on February 04, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Xavi Torrent/WireImage)

(Photo by Xavi Torrent/WireImage)

The latest AI debate is over fashion models – specifically a service called “Lalaland-ai” which lets designers create image files of their clothing lines, and then uses AI to put those clothes on AI-generated models which look absolutely real – except they’re not.

A designer can create a model avatar in five minutes, customize the hair style, body shape, and size, choose a pose, choose an emotion, and choose a race and skin tone.

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The company is especially proud of the inclusiveness of this – because it means everybody can see how the clothes hang on someone who looks like them.

But it’s also been criticized as fake inclusiveness because these are not real people. When Levis announced it would begin using these AI models to show off its latest clothing line the company was accused of faking inclusiveness.

But Lalaland-ai is completely upfront about the fakery – their sample photos say “This is not a real person,” and they’re faking all the races. There are fake white people too.

So we have to ask – is there something inherently wrong with selling clothes using computer-generated human images?

Because then I would also have to ask – do you consider the non-computer models in magazines to be 100% real? Haven’t the “real” models in fashion magazines also been criticized for being too skinny, too flawless, and too sculpted?

At least with AI models, designers can finally promise that no actual humans were harmed in the making of their catalogs.

And this may all be moot anyway, pretty soon you won’t need models at all. You’ll just upload a scan of the only body that really counts when you’re shopping for clothes – that being yours. There are already body scan apps that can capture your precise 3-D image, so it’s you modeling what you’ll look like.

What all these innovations will probably do is put a lot of models out of work.

But personally, I would much rather be able to shop for the body I already have – instead of the body some designer thinks I should have.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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