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The Fight Against AI

The Terminator franchise revolves around an AI named Skynet that sends its robotic creations to destroy life on Earth; the whole series in summary is a focus on humans against AI. While this is still just science fiction and nowhere close to reality, we can see a majorly toned-down mirror image of Human vs AI in the art industry.


With the rise of AI in recent months it is no surprise that it has infiltrated its way into almost every place possible. One of these places is the modern-day art industry. There are dozens of AI models that can take in prompts to produce specific, high-quality images. All of these AI models derive their work from already present and created art. Images produced by these AI have created a stir in the art community as it displaces work for human artists . Now it must be stated that the sector of the art industry being displaced is not artists like Banksy but rather small-time artists who mainly work through commission work. AI can easily take commission work and comes at a financial benefit for multi-billion corporations in long-term cost runs.

This shake in the art industry caused by AI is not happening without a fight! Just as humans do, in the face of adversity we create and adapt new ways to fight, and in this case, we are poisoning art!

Poison art

Image: The nightshade flower, best known for its deceiving beauty

Now poisoning art may seem like some Victorian fiction concept, but it is much less scary than it seems. A new tool named Nightshade, named after a beautiful but deadly flower, has come into the fight against AI by adding invisible to the human eye information to pixels in licensed art. This information has no effect on the way the art looks to our eye, but to the cybernetic eye of AI that can only create images from its catalogs of other images. By poisoning art made by human artists, these AI models see the ‘poisoned’ image and subsequently make subpar art that diverts from its prompts. Trees can become candy canes, children become chairs, and many more weird amalgamations can come from this poisoned art. Other tools have joined the fight, such as Glaze which works similarly to Nightshade but stands to protect the specific style of the artist against AI.

The goal of these tools is to give artists an edge in the fight for ownership of their work. In the face of new daunting technology, this is the first example that humans will not go down without a fight. While we may not be facing Terminator-level AI, these artist tools can give a little hope if we ever do!

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