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Art Protection App That ‘Poisons’ Work To Stop AI Theft Now Available To Public


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Nightshade, a new software tool aimed at giving artists and creators peace of mind in the digital age, turned heads when it was announced last October. Designed by a team at the University of Chicago, the app has a unique way of protecting creative works from unauthorized use by generative artificial intelligence models. Now, it’s available for public use.

This digital vigilante takes an ‘offensive” approach in safeguarding digital artwork by “poisoning” the images, rendering them unsuitable for AI training purposes. This could be a lifesaver for creatives concerned that their original pieces are being scraped and used without their permission. The tool introduces a level of unpredictability into machine-learning models, which could result in the generation of unrelated images in response to specific prompts.

Nightshade subtly alters images at the pixel level, making changes that are imperceptible to the human eye but significant for major AI models. For instance, an AI trained on a Nightshade-tweaked image might misinterpret a handbag as a toaster, or a dog as a cat. This misinterpretation is a deliberate outcome of a “multi-objective optimization” that minimizes visible changes to the original image while dramatically changing how AI models perceive it.

The final images can withstand traditional image manipulation techniques like cropping, compressing, noising, or pixel smoothing, making Nightshade a potent tool for those looking to protect their artwork from AI copying.

Nightshade pairs well with Glaze, another tool developed by the Chicago researchers. While Nightshade is seen as offensive, Glaze takes a “defensive” stance, gatekeeping creations against “style mimicry attacks.” Together, these apps offer a comprehensive approach to making digital works undiscoverable and unusable by AI.

The software is now available for free download as part of its first public release, promising protection and accessibility through a user-friendly interface. For optimal results, the creators of Nightshade suggest doing the final edits—like image resizing and watermarking—before running them through the software.



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