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Hello Peeps!  Do you look to change the world but can’t find a babysitter?! Here you will find reflections on family life, tech and work from the brain of a cartooning mum, written to raise a smile in this world full of eejits.

Be the reason someone smiles today. x

Episode 2: PROTECT YOUR ART FROM AI

Hello Peeps,

Based on recent developments at Meta about it using YOUR data to train it’s AI models I think it’s about time we RISE UP!

I love reading and digesting tech so in this second episode of “AI and US” I try and simplify this arena so you can get on board. Have you heard of GLAZE and NIGHTSHADE yet?

After a lot of research, trialing it myself, and participating in an interesting webinar hosted by the AOI where the Project leader Professor Ben Zhao explained how it all works, I can safely say this is the best thing that has happened to protect visual artists since the start of the internet!

It’s not AI that is corrupt, it’s the people who run it.

So PROTECT your work.

And POISON the models.

Knowledge is power and we are most often afraid of what we don't understand.

AI has little to no regulations. Luckily this team of brilliant minds headed up by Prof. Ben Zhao and Shawn Shan at Chicago university are fighting our corner to protect against copyright theft. Read more about them here : https://nightshade.cs.uchicago.edu/whatis.html

As Norbert the snail would say: “A revelation a revolution..a solution!”

Below are the answers to the questions I asked, and I’m giving you the links and the instructions in the clearest way possible, that you need to protect YOUR work and pass the baton on to another visual artists you know.  We need to spread the word

These softwares are rocking the AI boat. Join the revolution! Already over 2.3 million downloads.

Goal: If enough people do this AI will no longer be a convenient and easy go to to generate artwork, and rip off existing artists. It won’t work. It will force AI models to pay artists to train them.

Glaze and Nightshade - What is the difference?

They are two different softwares with slightly different goals. Each one of them with the ability to embed disruptive code into your digital artwork to protect it from AI.  YEY!

GLAZE – Is a defensive tool – Protects your artwork and I’m going to cover this  more in depth in this article.

NIGHTSHADE – Is an offensive tool – It poisons the AI models. Artists can use as a group to disrupt models that scrape their images without consent (thus protecting all artists against these models). Go use it NOW on Meta!

GLAZE

This is PROTECTION. Start here a.s.a.p.. What this does is it protects your artwork from being ‘scraped’ by AI models. It confuses the AI model and ensures that it cannot mimic your image. It’s extremely clever and robust, and does not break even if the image is screenshot-ed, edited or the image format and metadata is changed. How does it do it? By subtlety changing all the pixels, but this is almost imperceptible to the human eye.

Here is a before and after example of my artwork before and after glazing:

Original Artwork
Glazed Artwork

If you flick between them, like a nutcase, you can see some teeny shifts, but  honestly it’s impressive.  Ironically I had to upload the unglazed one, and downscale these to put them online (!) so the quality here is slightly less compared to the originals!

Where do I get it?

GET GLAZE HERE – Downloadable software for PC ( windows 10 and up) and (MACos 13 and up)

https://glaze.cs.uchicago.edu/downloads.html 

No PC or running an old OS version?  – GET WEBGLAZE instead for phones tablets and browsers

https://glaze.cs.uchicago.edu/webglaze.html

How do I set it up?

GLAZE For PC and MAC you can download it directly from the site and install it like any other software. It’s designed to be used offline so you have no paranoid fears of them storing your images on their servers.

WEBGLAZE – You will need to ask send a DM /direct message to them to be accepted on instagram or whichever one you use. @TheGlazeProject 

( There is a 2 week waiting list as the team are literally processing requests by hand. )

Once they send you a link it’s a simple login process from a browser window.

How do I use it?

Load in your artwork – choose your settings and hit Glaze. It’s THAT simple. 

The webglaze App will send you an email with the new artwork. The desktop version will just save it where you specify. Be assured that even with the webglaze version they delete your original artwork form their servers.

You can glaze 10 images a day, up to a maximum of 40 a week.

You can choose default, medium or high protection.

Press ‘submit’.

Webglaze takes about 2 minutes to return the file. 

See user guide here : https://glaze.cs.uchicago.edu/user-guide.html

Does it damage the artwork?

No. There is some possible pixellation that may occur but you can alter the settings and try again until you get what works for your particular artwork. 

Advice for giving artwork to clients.

The level is improving all the time so they suggest that you Glaze it before you give it away, to protect it, then you don’t need to worry if a clients posts it online. It is always best to communicate with your clients about usage rights anyway before it’s too late. Nothing better than a beautiful contract. 🙂

NIGHTSHADE

This is perfect it you want to go on the offensive and break the system! OH YEAH!

By embedding this in your artwork it will actually disrupt the AI models for anyone else in the future, therefore protecting all artists.

Let’s face it, how can you prevent your content from being fed into a generative AI model against your will? After all you DID upload it to Meta’s servers yourself!  Send a nice Opt-out form?  Opt-out lists have been disregarded by model trainers in the past, and can be easily ignored with zero consequences.

Download Nightshade here: (Available for Mac or PC only) https://nightshade.cs.uchicago.edu/downloads.html

If you want to run both softwares on an artwork, they recommend that you run Nightshade first then Glaze, in that order for maximum protection. 

What are you waiting for?

JOIN THE REVOLUTION!

To stay current – join my mailing list or follow Glaze online!

If you found this useful, then please pass this on to someone else that you think needs online protection.

Follow the Glaze Team 

Lead by Prof. Ben Zhao (Lead)

TheGlazeProject
@theglazeproject

WEBSITE : https://glaze.cs.uchicago.edu/index.html

For a deeper read and a video explainer see here

https://glaze.cs.uchicago.edu/what-is-glaze.html

Together we’re stronger!

Be kind Peeps! x

Empty vessels…

As Plato once said: " Empty vessels make the loudest sound."

Wow, the fashion industry really sucks!

So those of you that know me, know I live in Italy near one of the quintessential cities associated with fashion, Milan. I shun it completely.. Is that Fa-SHUN? Haha. 

I’m much happier snuffling around a charity shop looking for treasures 😀  Upcycled , recycled, homemade oh yeah. Are you with me? 

I’m also not in any danger of setting the latest trends 😀

As a parent it can get tough, and setting the right attitude is really important so your kids don’t feel inadequate in this consumer society.

Shopping second-hand is better for the environment. creating a circular economy and I’m not funding exploitative fashion chains.

And hell, it’s fun. I love the chase, the hunt, finding something random that is quirky or quality, and NOT the latest trend.

So we’ve been doing this since the kids have been small, but as they grow it’s getting harder as the culture is evermore consumerism led.

In Britain, second hand and thrift store is accepted in ALL walks of society. Denmark is one of the best countries for this! HOWEVER in Italy fashion is STATUS and if you shop second hand, it has nothing to do with the environment, or circular economies, just the fact that you can’t possibly be able to afford new clothes. 

So we’ve had many conversations about WHY we shop in this way, showing them the enormous fun in the hunt, and the environmental impact of fast fashion, luxury brands and the idiocy of walking around like an advert for Nike without a sponsorship deal. Is it just me? Or do you feel the same here? 

Get Naked!

There is a kid at my oldest son’s school who talks almost exclusively about what he is wearing. Ah yes, just in case you were unaware , there is NO school uniform in Italy, this is because child uniforms are associated with the era of fascism and Mussolini and are seriously frowned upon. I like the theory, but in practice it makes school into a fashion show…

So this child, looks at my son and asks  “How much was your sweatshirt.. mine cost £180” ” How much were your trousers…mine cost £200″ and so on. And he’s not the only one. A group of kids comparing the cost of their clothes as if they’d actually done something to earn them haha. This attitude saddens me greatly as the emptiness that produces it is something that lasts a lifetime. Have they really go nothing better to talk about? Are their values and judgement of others based on the price tag?

So my son comes back from school and reports this. I asked him if it bothered him. 

He says “I told that kid to strip naked and then find something to talk about!”.

OK, he didn’t really say that, but wouldn’t it have been great? So I suggested that line above to him for the next time around and assured him he’s will find more peace in his life if he doesn’t constantly chase the latest version of whatever new thing we MUST have is. He’s doing really well and has left that group way behind him.

It’s tough being a kiddo. I remember mean girls teasing me about my shoes. But I never like to wear what everyone was wearing anyway. Then one day when I had on some cool boots that I liked, that were different from everyone elses, they found out where I got them from and all bought the same! I’m not sure what was worse at the time, being teased or having them copy me. LOL.  

So?

So!..So, talking about the vulgarity and vacousness of following fashion like sheep, and consuming without responsibility or consequence…

Here is the news:

The singer Pharrell Williams, known for the song ‘Happy’ among other things is now the creative director of the Louis Vuitton fashion brand and has come up with this genius idea;

A million-dollar bag. The Speedy Bag.

credit: part of photo from Getty images

Is that a gold straw? Well, at least it’s not plastic.

Credit_section of photos from Getty Images

Yes, it costs a million dollars. A MILLION. That is quite a lot of money for a bag. Why? Because it’s made of REAL crocodile skin, REAL gold, and REAL diamonds.. And the rest of the price tag is just.. well.. profit…for show.

Oh, and you can’t just go and buy it, you have to be deemed worthy…

Clap along...

When I saw this, it pained me so much I had to write about it. With all the mess that is happening right now, all the poverty and displacement, the rising living costs and the climate disasters, how can anyone think its ‘cool’ to parade such a huge amount of wealth on such a vacuous and fashionable possession?

I put this article in front of my children and asked them what they thought too. Knowing me well, they probably didn’t dare say ‘ Way cool, I want one!” but instead said it was pretty disgusting to waste money on such a silly thing. Kudos to them.

It makes me sad, and angry. And even sadder and angrier when I read how many people think it’s cool too…The desire to SHOW your status.  Humans are really sucky sometimes.

Statistics ink: https://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

Here’s the article from The Guardian UK if you would like to read it later, and depress yourself too. Ahh, no don’t do that until you know that there is a little silver lining…

The silver lining.. ?

Well at Louis Vuitton there isn’t one, but this company Elvis and Kresse released a counter proposal, as they too were really disgusted about it all. They have also made a bag, one that costs the same, but with the distinct difference that ensures that the million-dollar price tag makes a REAL difference. You can buy yours here: 😀

This is our response. We are upping the ante. We are releasing, for a limited time, a one-of-a-kind Million Pound bag. But this bag is completely different. It isn't about having a million to spend on a bag, it is about choosing to donate a million pounds. It is about celebrating the work of our long-standing charity partners, The Firefighters Charity and Barefoot College International. Money can't buy this bag, but generosity can

I’d buy one of those! Do they take credit? haha

Clean supply chains, properly paid workers, and ALL the money goes to charity. That is worth talking about, naked or not. Thank f**k for that. Faith in humanity restored…temporarily…

I have a few suggestions myself, actually, now you mention it,  for a sustainable fashion industry, in my blog Eco friendly. Very sensible as usual, where I also list some serious links where you can check if a brand you like are being good boys and girls, and LV doesn’t come out so well. Read it here.

News just in!

Louis Vuitton has just announced they are also selling a great range of T-shirts for only $500,000.

Ohh, what fun, I generated that with AI. They’ll probably sue me.

To read more about AI, and all the dangers, and  the fun you can have with it, including fun with the kids, see my blog here!

Live well my friends!

Be kind. x

Eco Friendly

After 15 years of having children I finally achieved a long term goal! Hurrah. Starting a successful business? Having a successful blog? … haha nope

I reached the bottom of the laundry bin. Whoop.

Washing. So many clothes… ugh. Not mine, not much, as I work from home so I don’t put on business suits for the cat. Just tons of clothes of my three lovely males that I cohabit with.

Most of the energy use and water use is for washing and cleaning clothes..

While my cat was watching me load the washing machine her head tilted to one side as she does, waiting for food, I thought how easy it was for her to have her fur already on and to not mess about with clothing.

WE humans need clothes. It has taken years of evolution to become hairless, oh and lots of razors…but to what end? Now the fashion industry is just killing our planet with its dirty production techniques..and the latest and not surprising news of the exploitation of Bangladesh workers is the last in a long line of reports from a dirty and secretive business.

So what’s an eco friendly solution..?

Grow back our hair, of course!  

I mean after all we were hairy once upon a time. With a bit of genetic engineering we can switch on the ‘hairy’ gene and return to having lovely warm hair all over our bodies. No more washing machines, no more ironing, you can just spring outta bed and after a quick brush you are ready to go! AND most importantly, no more shopping!  In a few decades, the fashion industry would be outta business. Hah! THAT would go a long way to save the planet too so it’s a win-win.

Solved!

Seriously though, here we don’t even have that many clothes as we mainly shop second hand and try and buy only what we need. However we are not guilt free. Running a family costs and although we try to shop responsibly it’s not always easy. The point being though, and this is important, it shouldn’t be the burden of a consumer to try and guarantee a slavery-free purchase. Sadly, however, it is.

 

But forewarned is forearmed. The big luxury brands are some of the worst offenders and here in Italy that makes most people an accomplice in crime.

 

This organisation is the eyes and ears of trying to prevent forced labour in the fashion industry. On here you can search for your favourite brand and see how they score.

https://knowthechain.org/

Article about Bangladesh workers: Published Jan 11 2023

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/1/11/fashion-brands-paid-less-than-production-cost-to-bangladesh-firms 

Guide to brands still using sweatshops.

https://yoursustainableguide.com/brands-that-use-sweatshops/

Live well my friends.

Learn to sew!

Xx

Rebel, rebel.

"I'll kick you outta my home if you don’t cut that hair!"

Can you name the song that these lyrics are from?! If you are an old trout like me then you’ll know it. 

Here in Italy, being such a family-orientated culture, they have many wonderful things to say about children, but this phrase I heard from an elderly woman in the village sums it up beautifully: 

“When children are little, they are so sweet that you want to eat them.

Then, when they become teenagers, you wish you had.”

Now I know what she means. We are getting deep into teen years here.. my oldest just turned 15 and this phrase resonates. Resonates with a tune like this in fact. Did you guess the song??  Course you did. Beastie Boys ‘ Fight for Your Right to Party!”** which pretty much still encapsulates the teenage years like no other.  So if you haven’t heard it for a while here’s a snippet that I suggest you do an uncool mum dance to…

I LOVE the Beastie BOYS! oh yeah. Jeex how did I get so old haha.

I also love my darling little darlings but…tootballs…It doesn’t matter how much of a cool mum you wanna be, you are still MUM, and that ain’t cool between the ages of 13 and 19.. or maybe 23, which is about the age I was when I started hanging out with my mum again. haha

Quite right. FIGHT for your RIGHT to not let your mum come near you with the hair dye, scissors, shaver or hairgel. Fair enough 😀

“Can you just wash it please… occasionally?”

“No muuum, it’s fine!!”

I shall be waiting in the wings with shampoo and a brush for the day he sees a girl he likes…Hahahah

Have a great weekend peeps.

Be kind, especially to your mum and your darling teenage children 😀

**GEEK FACT:  The verb To Party was used as early as 1922 to mean “to have a good time”, and they sure knew how to have a good time in those years! This snippet of language history comes from The Entomology Dictionary which gives a fascinating history of the origins of words in our language. To read more on that you can go to their website. https://www.etymonline.com/ 

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