Clothing Company to Experiment with AI-Generated Models to Illustrate Product Options


Explaining artificial intelligence, and how it works (not to mention what it might do for society), is more complicated than it may seem at first.

Studio prepared for shoot
Studio prepared for shoot. Photo by Emmanuel Acua

What is much easier to explain, however, is the controversy surrounding AI and the many concerns that people have about it displacing photographers from jobs. 

We have covered stories here in the past about artificial intelligence creating object models (and even natural environments) out of thin air, but now it looks like we’re moving into actually replacing the human models themselves with AI-generated versions. 

Interestingly enough, that’s probably the least controversial aspect of our next story, which involves a popular jeans brand seeking to include more “diversity” in its clothing models using AI to “supplement human models.”

American clothing icon Levi’s is currently beta testing this approach together with, The Verge reports, the latter being a company that specializes in digital fashion models. 

Levi's had to explain its diversity angle a little better in the wake of Internet controversy surrounding its claim of pursuing diversity using artificial models. Apparently, the feature will supplant the current single model photo viewing experience with multiple options that show different models with a variety of characteristics from one another such as body type, age, and size. The company is not using the experiment to help further corporate diversity and equity goals, a follow-up statement clarified.

In other words, it sounds like the experiment is more about giving consumers a wider variety of information about a particular product than anything else. That’s not how the original announcement was received by some, however. As The Verge notes, the company also didn’t really clarify whether or not any of this would be user-controlled.

From our perspective, however, the most important impact will probably be on the photographers that no longer have work for these kinds of companies and also the models themselves. A representative from Levi’s told The Verge that it was unlikely that artificial intelligence would replace human models anytime soon. Still, really, the writing is sort of on the wall at this point.

Not only can companies generate more AI models at scale, cheaply and efficiently, but also they can do it on demand. And when you consider the cost savings for companies of all sizes when it comes to advertising and marketing, it’s really hard to imagine the old system competing in any way and that’s scary. 

On a positive note, Levi’s affirmed its commitment to using photographers and live models for the foreseeable future and didn’t announce any planned cutbacks in that area. As we said in the beginning of the post, this is all an experiment, but it’s an “experiment” that we’re starting to see way too frequently it seems. It’s almost a “trend” at this point.

Do you think the future of photography will be dominated by artificial intelligence in one form or the other? What role do you see photographers and models playing in the future with this kind of technology? Any thoughts that you might have on AI replacing models – and even photographers – are welcome in the comments section below.

Be sure to check out our other photography news headlines at this link right here

[The Verge]

About Author

Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

Using AI models is a nobrainer from the cost saving point of you and speed of production. Any good manager responsible to shareholders would be questioned if not using this opportunity to save cost and increase profits. Plus companies does not have a pledge to employ models or photographers. They are not social employers. But to sell this as an act to increase diversity is nothing but pretentious, riding the wave of the overtly pc madness raging in the western world.
Photographers will probably have to redefine themselves – at least in the fashion industry – and find core values in representing reality and human artistry rather than ai created empty and shallow perfectiicity. Sorry just made this word up.

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