A Poison-Pill for AI: Missing the Forest for the Trees

(How Nightshade AI poisoning can be detrimental to artists)

Jeffrey Berthiaume

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Artist protecting his work from the horrors of AI (created with GPT4/DALL-E)

Rethinking Artistic Protection in the Age of AI: A Perspective on Nightshade

As a creative in the digital era, I’ve been closely following the buzz around Nightshade, a tool designed to prevent AI models from training on artwork without permission. Its rapid adoption, with 250,000 downloads in just five days, signals a strong reaction from the artistic community. But this development prompts me to question the broader implications for artists in this age of technological advancement.

And this tension isn’t new — it echoes past disputes in the music industry, like the notorious clash between Metallica and Napster. Lars Ulrich, Metallica’s drummer, became the face of the anti-Napster movement, arguing that the file-sharing service was cannibalizing sales. The irony? Studies and time showed that mp3 sharing and torrenting didn’t quite have the catastrophic effect on sales that many feared. Much like the current debate on art and AI, it raises questions about the true impact of sharing and ownership in the digital age. Can we draw a parallel to today’s artists and their skirmish with AI? Perhaps in resisting the tide of technological progress, we risk being swept away by it instead of learning to swim with the current.

Protection or Overreaction?

Nightshade’s appeal is clear: it offers a way for artists to safeguard their creations against unauthorized use by AI systems. However, is this level of protection always necessary? For most artists, especially those not widely recognized, the risk of their work being used by AI might not be as significant as perceived. This tool could be seen as a response to a threat that is, in many cases, more theoretical than real.

Consider a Different Approach: Embrace AI for Legacy Building

What if we saw AI as an opportunity to extend our reach and influence? For instance, imagine having a style that’s so distinct that AI systems start replicating it. The thought of people using prompts like “in the style of Jeffrey Berthiaume” excites me. Not…

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Jeffrey Berthiaume

Jeffrey Berthiaume is a technology veteran and senior executive, who has spent decades creating and innovating technology.