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Microsoft using AI to preserve cultural heritage as part of AI for Good

microsoft ai for cultural heritage

Microsoft has announced the latest addition to its $125m AI for Good programme, AI for Cultural Heritage, which uses artificial intelligence to take on challenges in society.

AI for Cultural Heritage was launched in response to modern threats to cultural heritage, and will use AI to support the people and organisations attempting to preserve and enrich it.

It follows Microsoft’s recent work using AI, which includes the company’s collaboration with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MIT to look at ways in which AI can make the Met’s Open Access collection accessible and useful online.

Using AI to preserve places and artefacts

Another project it will draw on is Microsoft’s partnership with HoloForge Interactive and Iconem at the Musée des Plans-Reliefs to create a new museum experience with mixed reality and AI.

It also comes after Microsoft’s project in Mexico, capturing and translating Yucatec Maya and Querétaro Otomi using AI to make them more accessible to people around the world.

“As we have learned more about the dimensions that make up cultural heritage, we’ve concluded that preserving cultural heritage isn’t something that is solely nice to have or nice to do, it’s sometimes imperative to the well-being of the world’s societies,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith.

AI for Earth, Accessibility, and Humanitarian Action

“We’ve realised that this work deserves more than a handful of projects. That’s why we’re bringing these efforts together in a more comprehensive programme that will explore and pursue new opportunities with institutions around the world.”

Microsoft’s three other AI for Good programmes are AI for Earth, AI for Accessibility and AI for Humanitarian Action.

Meanwhile, China is building smart museums featuring AI, as well as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), the country’s National Cultural Heritage Administration (NCHA) recently confirmed.

Images: Microsoft

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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