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‘Poison Pill’ Tool for Artists Could Transform Copyright Protection Against AI

 |  October 24, 2023

Artists around the world could soon have a powerful ally in the fight to safeguard their creations from the clutches of machine learning. An innovative tool known as “Nightshade” has emerged on the horizon, poised to disrupt the status quo by introducing subtle pixel alterations to digital artwork, rendering it impervious to AI training.

As reported by MIT Technology Review, a team led by University of Chicago professor Ben Zhao has introduced Nightshade for peer review at the prestigious USENIX computer security conference. This software marvel operates by applying almost imperceptible adjustments to an image, leaving it visually unchanged to the human eye but confounding AI algorithms, leading them to misidentify the art.

For example, if an artist paints an unmistakable image of a cat, humans and AI algorithms alike would perceive it as a feline. However, upon Nightshade’s touch, human observers would still recognize the same picture, while AI would erroneously categorize it as a dog.

Over time, employing Nightshade to contaminate AI with a multitude of misidentified images could prompt significant disruptions in AI image generation. One rogue image alone may not deliver the desired outcome, but the cumulative effect of thousands of tampered images could reshape the AI landscape.

Read more: Authors’ Suit Claims OpenAI Violated Copyright Law In Creating ChatGPT

Artificial intelligence image generators are notorious for indiscriminately scouring the internet for fresh data to enhance their algorithms. Should numerous artists adopt Nightshade in their works, these AI tools could eventually become unusable.

Crucially, rectifying this issue poses a formidable challenge for AI companies. Each corrupted image must be painstakingly identified and extracted from their training datasets. This intricate process may instill a strong incentive for such firms to reconsider their data collection practices and respect artists’ copyrights.

Ben Zhao’s team is no stranger to creating tools that shake up the world of AI. Previously, they unveiled “Glaze,” a tool that disguises an artist’s unique style in a similar fashion. Nightshade is set to merge with Glaze, making it a more comprehensive solution. Furthermore, the creators plan to make Nightshade open-source, enabling others to contribute to the cause of preserving artists’ intellectual property rights.

In the evolving digital age, Nightshade has the potential to become a vital asset in the ongoing battle for artistic protection against AI, asserting artists’ ownership and creative rights in an increasingly AI-driven world.

Source: Technology Review