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12,000 art questions answered by a creative AI named Watson at São Paulo’s Pinacoteca

pinacoteca de sao paulo AI Watson

With the help of Watson Artificial Intelligence (AI), São Paulo’s Pinacoteca aims to make art accessible.

A study by IBM found that 72 percent of local respondents had never visited São Paulo’s Pinacoteca, mainly because they worried that they would not be able to engage with the works of art.

The Pinacoteca, one of the most important art museums in Brazil, wants to change that with the help of a supercomputer, Watson.

Named after IBM’s first CEO, industrialist Thomas J. Watson, the supercomputer is able to answer thousands of questions asked by real people, and has already been successful in a 2013 trial.  When New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center introduced Watson to their nurses, it was reported that 90 per cent of the staff who were involved in the trial followed Watson’s advice.

IBM’s Watson has since been used in other areas of work as well as healthcare.  In addition to cybersecurity, engineering and aviation, the cognitive system that can process vast amounts of data is also being used more creatively.  Watson is working with chefs to create new food combinations and has even collaborated on composing a song.  Fashion designers have also used Watson’s abilities to create a cognitive dress.

São Paulo’s Pinacoteca hopes that Watson can help make art more accessible, and increase footfall to the Museum.

“People wanted more interaction,” IBM’s Delivery Leader for Watson Artificial Intelligence (AI), Maisa Pinha, explained during a tech conference in Rio de Janeiro.  Although currently in a small exhibition space with only 7 paintings, Watson can answer 12,000 questions about the artworks.  These questions can be about the artist, the historical context, and the relationships to their contemporary settings.

“Of course, it’s different to the traditional audio guides,” added Pinha.  “It’s technology which people can interact with in order to interact with the art.”

Image: Pinacoteca

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Rachel Reed

Rachel Read

Rachel is Finance Director. She has a degree in engineering from Cambridge University and qualified as a Chartered Accountant at Deloittes in London. She worked in finance in industry for twenty years. She oversees our news and also manages our events.

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