In a thought-provoking study conducted by the Bulimia Project, AI image generators were examined to determine their perception of what ideal women and men look like. The surprising findings shed light on biases and unrealistic artificial intelligence (AI) technology standards.
This study, carried out by an organization focused on raising awareness about eating disorders, provides valuable insights into the impact of social media beauty standards on AI-generated images.
AI tools like Midjourney helping people to generate ideal AI images. Let’s discover how the ideal women and men look like in the eyes of AI.
1. Study Methodology and AI Image Generators:
The Bulimia Project researchers enlisted the assistance of renowned AI image generators, including Dell E2, Stable Diffusion, and MidJourney. The goal was to explore the AI systems’ interpretation of ‘ideal’ men and women. The image generators were initially prompted to generate images based on prevailing beauty standards observed on social media platforms.
2. Biases in AI-Generated Images:
The study uncovered notable biases within the AI technology, as all female images generated by the programs exhibited an overly thin appearance. Conversely, the male images appeared exaggerated depictions of bodybuilders, giving them a photoshopped aesthetic. Additionally, the image generators consistently selected blonde hair for women and brown hair for men, emphasizing further gender stereotypes.
3. Unrealistic Standards from Internet Images:
After the initial stage, the image generators created images based on existing internet images. Although the resulting images displayed realism, they still exhibited a sense of unreality. The researchers concluded that AI technology’s perception of the ideal man and woman tends to be unrealistic and potentially harmful.
4. Impact of Social Media Influences:
The researchers posit that AI systems generate these peculiar images due to the promotion of unrealistic body structures on social media platforms. The prevalence of specific beauty standards within these platforms influences the AI algorithms, creating images that mirror these unattainable ideals.
The study’s findings highlight the biases and unrealistic standards ingrained in AI technology’s perception of ideal women and men. As AI becomes more integrated into our daily lives, addressing and rectifying these biases is crucial to promote more inclusive and realistic representations.
By recognizing the influence of social media and challenging the prevailing beauty standards, we can foster a healthier and more diverse AI-generated imagery landscape. As we evolve AI technology, it is vital to ensure its alignment with the principles of inclusivity and body positivity, promoting a more balanced perception of ideal beauty standards.