Revealing the Unseen: Google's Pursuit of Creating an Invisible Watermark for AI-Generated Images

In the age of technological revolution where algorithms and social proof carve our reality, the line between real and imagined has become blurry. Everything is on sale yet you cannot buy peace of mind and happiness. Nevertheless, artificial intelligence has ushered in a new age in the field of technology. The line between the real and the imaginary has become further blurry. It is true that we cannot really trust what we see these days with our eyes. The technological giant of today’s world, Google, has taken up the responsibility, as it seems, to further blur the line between reality and fantasy. Their aim, as it rightly seems, is to make visible invisible. With its latest development, Google seeks to make watermarks of AI-generated images invisible. What is real and what is not? Guess you will never know.

Watermarks have been around since the time photography as an industry developed. It is safe to say that watermarks help in securing the authenticity of images in the world of technology. You can consider a watermark to be a virtual signature as that guarantees the exclusivity of that product. However, what will happen if that authenticity is taken away? How will it be when you will never come to know about the source of the image, no matter how sensitive it is?

Imagine a masterpiece with perfect hues, and brilliant landscape, representing a perfectly executed idea. When you will look at that image, you might wonder whether that has been created by a human being or a well-designed AI. Google, a master of understanding algorithms, has taken this into account and decided to create something called invisible watermarks. This technology will create several loopholes wherein a person who is not tech-savvy might face several problems.


Google has first decided to use its hands over steganography. It is the art of concealing information from plain sight. This should remind you about the use of invisible ink by ancient civilizations to pass secret messages or restrict the spread of information. Google will be using the power of steganography to create an unseen relation between the creator and the creation. Now, by altering the pixels of an image in the slightest manner possible and making some other minor changes in an image that can only be decoded by algorithms, Google engineers have carved a niche for creating a digital canvas that might not be essentially ethical. 

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However, why would Google want to venture into such cryptic areas that are not entirely authentic? Well, it seems that artistry and authenticity are in huge demand. The world of social media is all about appealing to the eyes. Therefore, it wouldn’t matter if images, that appeal to the eyes are created by a human being or by artificial intelligence. Therefore, it is only the dedicated digital investigators who will now be able to find the truth. AI-generated art is not bad at all. In fact, some of it is quite beautiful. However, it lacks human touch and brilliance. It is a song composed by the rhythm of numbers and data. Thus, the imperfections of human craftsmanship will never be able to adorn it. The invisible watermark will carry an identity but we will never know if that was human or technology. 


The path to perfection, as we know, is not an easy one. There are several challenges that one has to face on the way. The entire idea of the invisible watermark is quite contradictory, to say the least. The watermark may not be visible to the naked eye but can be detected by AI algorithms. In this paradoxical play of identity crisis, the engineers of Google will have to play their game in a very minute and sensitive way. There are so many variations that they will have to introduce to allow people to copy artwork or to make it easier for artificial intelligence to make its name in the world of art. 


The whole fight over patents and right over one’s work will now be thrown in a problematic curve and there is not much that we can do about it. The legal battles will only get more interesting for the lawyers. Who will they fight? What does their client look like? Guess only time can tell. An invisible watermark will function like a silent spectator who knows the entire story of the crime’s origin. Nonetheless, it will be defeated and overlooked by the busy schedule of the audience. 

Every technological invention is bound to spark debates. There are new ideas it throws into society but at the same time, takes something away from society. There are concerns about how ethical is this move by Google and will allow artificial intelligence to rule over us humans. There are debates on how it is taking away the essence of creativity from us and making us intellectually lazy. The fight between preserving authenticity and giving space for the development of creative freedom will continue to exist. The question is how we will trade this moral pathway and carve an identity for ourselves. 


The technology does seem very intimidating but it is only an infant. There are reasons why we must be scared of it or disapprove of its presence but at the end of the day it is quite important to remember that there will be some counter technology to this invisibility as well. Time will reveal whether we are lost to technology or whether human beings are still smarter than the computer and its offspring. 


Today, when we are more engaged with our mobile phones than with our reality, it is the pixels that matter more to us than a perfect landscape setting. In such a time, the quest for knowing the truth should not have become more difficult. Google’s invisible watermark will only make it difficult for us to trust technology. It brings several dangers with itself because every sensitive information of an individual is uploaded on Google Photos. Therefore, it is our responsibility as a generation to be more careful of the things we see and make public. Don’t believe all that you see. Take a step back and think that there might be someone who is trying to tell you a different story through the images, just be patient enough to listen to it. 

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