If there are two things the human race has, it’s a short attention span and an appetite for entertainment. We’ve gone from watching TV as a family once or twice a week to having a screen in our pocket and on our wrist. App developers are keenly aware of just how obsessed we are with amusing and distracting ourselves, and the latest buzz app is a prime example, Voila AI Artist.
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Voila AI Artist is an app that attempts to change your images and portraits into cartoon caricature that resembles a Disney-style aesthetic. A few other styles are available within the app, and CNET has a write-up on exactly what the app does well and doesn’t do well.
What caught my eye on this CNET article was at the end, and that has to do with privacy. Of course, you have to give Voila AI Artist permissions to your photo gallery and camera. This means the company has access to your photos.
According to CNET, the company claims it deletes your photos from its servers within 24-48 hours the app last used the photo. But Voila AI Artist also collects personal data that it shares with its advertisers. And oh wow, there are advertisements!
After I downloaded the app, allowed photo permissions, and picked a photo, the first thing I was presented with was a Voila AI Artist Pro upgrade button. Curious, I clicked the button and found this is a subscription-based upgrade. To remove ads, watermarking, and add “fast turbo processing” would cost US$2.99 a week, US$5.99 a month, or US$29.99 a year.
So if you’re not willing to jump into the subscription, you can still use the app with the watermark, “slower” processing, and ads. Yes, very long video ads as well as image-based ads. These video ads aren’t few and far between either; they’re basically run every time you process a photo. According to Wemagine AI, the company that makes Viola AI Artist:
“When you use the free version of the App, we work with advertising partners to display advertisements within the App. These advertisements are delivered by our advertising partners and may be targeted based on your use of the App or your activity elsewhere online.”Wemagine AI
As AI and technology improve moving forward, Povolny warns that users will need to be more careful about what apps they use and what they post on social media.
“We really need to be cognitive of what the future is,” Povolny said. “There’s this massive data collection effort, and we really don’t know how it’s going to be used down the road.”USA Today
You may not care much about long video ads or that an unknown app developer shares information with advertisers. But for those who do, I’d stay away from this particular app because there are way too many privacy concerns here. There are plenty of other great ways to waste time, like fishing with your kids.
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Last Updated on June 18, 2021.