Photo Credit: smartify.org
AI is being integrated into all aspects of our lives. One place where it has tremendous applications is in museums. Museums are full of huge amounts of data that hold many opportunities for AI.
One way that AI can help is by sorting collections, as “more than 90 percent of (enterprise) data is unstructured, human-generated and sourced from various disparate entities” (IDC, 2015). Using image recognition, pattern recognition, machine vision and sentiment analysis (analysing the emotions conveyed through text or faces recognised), museums can find interesting and new ways to quickly sort through their collections. Here are some museums that have used sentiment analysis to sort through their data:
Another exciting avenue for museums to explore is the use of smartphones to easily and instantaneously recognise works and access additional information about them. The app Smartify, which launched in 30 museums this year including The Met in New York and the National Gallery in London, does exactly this. It has been described as the ‘Shazam of the art world’, as it uses image recognition to scan and identify art works. It then provides the user with information about the work as well as interviews with the artist and other audio-visual information pertaining to the work. Currently, the app does not recognise images that are not already stored on its database, but the company is working towards changing this.
Additionally, some museums, like the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, have launched Messenger bots to interact with visitors. The one in the Anne Frank House tells users about the history of the museum and Anne Frank’s past. The SFMOMA also uses a chatbot that connects to visitors through texts. It allows users to send in keywords and in turn sends back answers with pictures of works at the museum including the title, artist and year. These chatbots do make mistakes occasionally, but showcase the great ways in which museums can use AI to make their works more accessible.
These are just a few of the millions of ways in which museums can innovatively use AI to their benefit. AI can help keep track of and sort through museums’ vast amounts of data, can make this information more reachable to the public, and can allow visitors to have more insightful and enjoyable museum visits.
Museums and the web