Fashion Industry Tests AI Models, As AI Tech Gets More Advanced So Do Its Takers, With Criticism And Unease Mounting, How Far Are We Prepared To Go?
We might just be in the midst of the biggest revolution of our times - the AI revolution - small steps toward AI have been carved out in the past few years, but the momentum of the same is being witnessed in the present, where AI has not only entered many industries - from automobile to hospitality, to food, and marketing but it has now set its eyes and scope in the fashion industry. However, with advancements happening almost every day to make AI more innovative, effective and efficient, there are also those who have not shied away from expressing concern and caution. It seems that back peddling has begun as the threat by AI, aka non-human minds, might, in reality, outnumber, outsmart and obsolete human minds!
The last few months have been exceptional; as more word on AI gains ground, it seems that AI is set to take centre stage in almost all industries and sectors; the competition is tough – it is AI vs Humans!
While the launch of ChatGPT and its many versions have already found ground in many segments – marketing, advertising, content writing, and so many more, and many takers, its use is growing at a tremendous speed.
For now, AI has also found its way into the fashion industry; artificial intelligence is fast becoming a game-changer in the fashion industry. From design to marketing and sales to now human models, AI is affecting everything, offering businesses new opportunities to streamline their operations and reach new heights and cut down on the costs of employing human models.
AI models have now found more prominence than their human counterparts, so much so that American clothing company Levi Strauss announced that it will begin to increase its use of real humans with hyper-realistic AI-generated models soon as 2024.
Levi Strauss reported plans to test customized AI-generated models; the aim, it says, is to multiply the number and diversity of models that customers can see.
To further this approach, the denim giant partnered on the test with Lalaland.ai, an Amsterdam-based startup that looks to create “hyper-realistic models of every body type, size, age and skin tone.”
However, this approach is not limited to Levis alone; early this month,
Vogue Singapore’s March issue cover shoot was modelled fully by AI-generated avatars. It is the first time that AI models have been featured on the cover of a famous fashion magazine, one that is renowned and dictates the world of fashion to a large extent.
This was the first cover by Desmond Lim, the magazine’s new editor-in-chief, and the cover shoot was modelled entirely by three different AI-created Southeast Asian women. The avatars were inspired by images of Southeast Asian women from the early 1900s.
AI And Levis’s Argument
According to Levis, currently, shoppers on Levi.com generally only see one model for each product. The company says AI technology can assist it by supplementing models and unlocking a future where AI can enable customers to see their products on more models that look like themselves, thus creating a more personal and inclusive shopping experience.
It says that this supports Levi’s broader diversity, equity and inclusion objectives; at the same time, however, the company asserts that AI will likely never fully replace human models but that they are excited about the potential capabilities it may afford for the consumer experience.
The AI trend debuted last year when Levis started a feature that lets consumers select their size and see an image of their chosen garment appear on a person similar to their size, height, body shape and/or skin tone.
Walmart, too, has experimented with similar virtual fitting solutions.
AI Models VS Human Models VS AI Models
The real appeal, it seems, is hidden in the fact that AI models are more cost-effective; beyond just offering a more comprehensive range of diverse models, virtual models could cut costs by reducing the need to hire models and pay for shoots.
While many are welcoming this technological change, the fashion industry is divided on the use of AI models. Some say. AI models will never be as charming and won’t have the same appeal as real ones, while others think that the machines may prove to be more budget-friendly.
Pacsun received backlash last year for employing virtual star influencer Lil Miquela as its spokesperson. One critic tweeted, “They could have chosen a woman in real life to be their ‘female advocate’ but instead chose a CGI personality who is probably run by a team of 10 guys.
AI, A Call For A Cautionary Approach
While AI is the hottest topic at the moment, a group of experts and industry executives, including the billionaire owner of Twitter and Tesla, Elon Musk, have called out for a six-month pause in developing AI systems more robust than open AI’s latest program, GPT 4.
They cite and believe that a more robust version of the AI’s latest program, GPT 4, could be a potential risk to society.
According to this call, no advancement in AI development should be done until shared safety protocols are developed with independent experts. It has also called on developers to work with policymakers on governance.
The risk it cites is whether society should develop non-human minds that might outnumber, outsmart, obsolete and replace humans.
The governments and lawmakers are equally concerned with questions about its impact on national security and education, potential issues of fishing attempts to raise information and cyber crimes.
As big players are increasingly becoming secretive about their AI developments, it may make it hard for society to defend against potential harm; the UK government has thus unveiled proposals for an adaptable regulatory framework around AI and more may follow.
Conclusion: The potential effects of developing and furthering AI are much more than anticipated.
The immediate effect, however, is the growing concern that AI is already replacing human labour, as has been seen in the present.
With AI algorithms capable of doing the jobs of designers, marketers, and many other professionals, there is a risk that some jobs will be lost.
This could have a significant impact on a given industry as a whole, as well as on the broader economy, making it a valid concern that it’s essential for businesses to approach AI in a responsible and ethical manner.
While we are on the subject of AI, why not use it for developing and finding solutions to critical problems – like waste management, plastic disposal, global warming, extinction and endangered animal species, depleting forests, natural calamities, and so much more; instead of just how to make more profit and cutting down on costs – it is all just and only about the money, may the human mind raise above money making and focus on real pressing issues threatening human existence on this planet!