"My current friends would kill me if I tried this."

Fancy Salads

Don't want to spend time with other humans, but still want to make it look like you're hanging out with your pals IRL? Boy, do we have just the thing.

A new app called Hotshot makes use of the power of AI to generate fake photos of you and your pals — whether they agreed to the arrangement or not.

"Imagine if Midjourney knew what your friends looked like... Introducing Hotshot!" tweeted one of the app's cofounders Aakash Sastry. "Make photos with ANYONE IN YOUR CONTACTS doing ANYTHING."

In a demonstration, Sastry shared some Hotspot-generated photos of himself and his cofounder together eating salads in a fancy restaurant.

The results arguably leave a lot to be desired. The photos fall squarely in the uncanny valley, making both their faces appear like cartoonish AI interpolations.

"Making memes of your friends," reads the company's page on the app store, "has never been easier."

Involuntary Participation

Of course, while we love goofy photos of our friends as much as the next guy, something about using an AI app to create images of you and your friends hanging out together — rather than just hanging out with them in real life — feels just a too little dystopian for our taste.

Especially given the fact that face-to-face human interaction is more important than ever in a post-pandemic world, Hotshot feels a little like a regression. Besides, even if you don't live close to your friends, video chat programs like FaceTime and Zoom also exist.

Users on Twitter weren't exactly impressed, calling the app "pretty creepy."

"My current friends would kill me if I tried this," another user wrote. "Rightly so."

That said, skipping out on hanging with your friends may not have been the intention. Bitmoji, an app that allows you to turn yourself into your own emoji avatar, did have a moment, so maybe there is some appeal to this kind of AI app.

At least, its creators also claim in the app's privacy policy that all user photos are deleted 24 hours after they're uploaded and will never be shared with any third-party platforms — which is rarely a given these days.

We won't stop you from generating images of you hanging out with your besties. But at least promise us that you'll try to eat salads with friends in real life sometimes, too.

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