What would it have looked like to have attended a US high school thirty years ago? This question is on the minds of many on the web right now. Under the hashtag #yearbookchallenge circulate on TikTok and Instagram numerous photos in the style of yearbook portraits from the 1990s. Behind the viral trend is a paid AI app.
In the Yearbook Challenge, users create photos of themselves in the style of an American yearbook from the 1990s using the app Epik – AI Photo Editor. The app uses artificial intelligence to rejuvenate the face and add different hairstyles, clothes and accessories. A challenge becomes who mixes his real yearbook photo under the new pictures and asks the followers which one is the original. Both celebrities and many influencers have already taken part in the trend.
“Just graduated from high school for $6.99! What do you think of the photos?”
. The allure of transforming yourself into an American high school teenager is tied to all the myths and dreams surrounding a school days in the US. Teenagers enjoy using AI apps to edit their own selfies so that they look like something out of a high school series. In addition, it is exciting for them to receive photos that look similar to the pictures from their parents’ youth. Many young people also emulate their role models on social media and want to get in on the current trend as well.
Several selfies are needed for photo editing. The South Korean app developer SNOW is behind the app Epik. Anyone who uploads photos agrees that they will be stored and processed by the app. In addition, personal data must be entered in the app. The AI-generated photos borrow heavily from gender stereotypes such as poses and clothing, and beauty ideals such as smooth skin and symmetrical faces. The AI app erases irregularities of the original images altogether. Full body photos in particular are greatly altered by making them slimmer. Similar to the use of face filters, participating in the Yearbook Challenge can lead to distorted self-perception and unhealthy comparison to supposedly perfect bodies of others.
The app can be fun and creative way to see yourself in different roles and ages. Why not try out different AI image generators together and talk about the results?