You only so much as have to type an artist’s name into a prompt to see how easily big platforms like OpenAI’s DALL-E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion can ape an individual’s style, making it readily available for anyone to reuse and remix.
Now, researchers have developed a new tool intended to protect artists from this kind of plagiarism. Called “Glaze,” the technology works by “cloaking” images—introducing subtle changes to the defining characteristics of the style such as brushstroke, palette, texture or use of shadow. The differences, however, are minimal to the naked human eye.
It was developed by a team of computer scientists at the University of Chicago associated with the college’s research group SAND Lab. The idea was inspired by Fawkes, an algorithm built in 2020 by SAND Lab which “cloaks” personal photographs so that they can’t be used as data for facial recognition models. This latest project was prompted by artists reaching out to the lab imploring them to help, after which the lab surveyed over 1,000 artists to assess the scale of the problem.