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Museum of AI

(Versailles, France - Alvin Wei-Cheng Wong)

- AI and The Museum

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic in technology right now, but how does it translate to the museums and culture space? The AI-enabled technology could be a key way for the museum sector to survive the digital age. So, what can AI help with? Well, consider one of the most popular trends in the museums and heritage space right now: digitizng exhibition material in order to save physical space in museums and create an online archive of materials that make them accessible for a larger number of people. For large museums that may be digitizing tens-of-thousands of materials, the issue of curation and recommendation presents itself. 

In a physical museum, it’s easy to ask a member of staff for recommendations on new exhibits you should check out, but that’s not possible with online exhibits and archives. That’s why AI is so effective. Take, for example, the Norwegian National Museum, which using neural networking and machine learning to add metadata to all of the materials within its online archives to create intelligent recommendations for other exhibits. 

"Here are some good reasons to explore how museums can use AI to fuel their work:

  • AI can help users in and out of the museum explore collections in new ways
  • AI is a powerful tool for managing and mining archives
  • AI can help museums create compelling, personalized experiences for visitors
  • AI can be shaped into engaging, informative museum guides


- The Connected Museum

In the next decade, the Internet of Things (IoT) will no longer be a talking point - this technological network will practically be interlaced with our DNA. Trillions of connected devices will be transmitting and gathering data seamlessly behind the scenes. Augmented and virtual reality will be a part of everyday life, not just something to experience via a cool gadget select friends or relatives may have. Together, these advances will transform what it means to “visit” a museum. 

Even before you enter a museum or gallery, your devices will be gathering data based on your conversations at home. When you remark to your partner, “We should really take the kids to the Museum of Science,” your personal artificial intelligence assistant will start checking calendars, schedules, modes of transportation, and the interests of your family members. Knowing that Tommy loves dinosaurs, it will notice the upcoming opening of a new fossil exhibit. It will scan for days when you have no meetings scheduled for work, and cross-check traffic projections. By the time you ask, “When’s a good time to go to the Museum of Science?”  it will promptly reply “Friday, the 24th of next month, at 2 pm.” 

Connected devices will be directly integrated into the fabric of museums and exhibits of every kind. When patrons walk through the doors with their own connected devices, the transfer of information will happen unobtrusively.  Museums will use the collected data to personalize the experience of any patron that visits for a tour. Don’t like to read the labels? No problem – an audio clip will play as you stop in front of the artwork. Not sure of the time period in which the work was made? Simply look at the art and ask, “When’s this from?” aloud—the audio will play automatically. Want to experience a museum visit the ‘old-fashioned way’, i.e. a very basic walking tour? Then that’s what will be offered to you because the museum will have saved your preferences from previous visits.


[More to come ...]


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