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The Tate puts AI in the frame

|6 September 2016|


Tate Britain has partnered with Microsoft to launch a pioneering artificial intelligence programme which will transform the way audiences engage digitally with Tate’s collection.

Recognition, winner of IK Prize 2016 for digital innovation, compares up-to-the-minute photojournalism from Reuters with British art from the Tate collection. The platform brings together the latest AI technologies, including computer vision capabilities such as object recognition, facial recognition and composition analysis.

It also uses natural language processing to interpret image captions and text, analysing context and subject matter.

Over the next three months – until 27 November 2016 – Recognition will produce a constantly expanding virtual gallery by tapping into Tate’s archive and collection of British art online which then compares it with Reuters news images based on similar themes and visuals. Audiences worldwide will then see the matches selected and learn why they were made.

The online project is complemented by a display at Tate Britain showcasing the machine’s matches with their own and invites them to help retrain the algorithm.

The winning Recognition team (Angelo Semeraro, Coralie Gourguechon, Monica Lanaro and Isaac Vallentin) are based at Fabrica, a communication research centre in Treviso, Italy. The team worked with AI intelligence specialists, JoliBrain, to create Recognition.

The winning team at Fabrica said: “Creating Recognition has been an incredibly fascinating and complex challenge. Taking our proposal from concept to fully functional artificial intelligence couldn’t have been achieved without the expertise provided by our collaborators Emmanuel Benazera and Alexandre Girard at JoliBrain, as well as the support and mentoring provided by Microsoft. We can’t wait to see what inspiring, insightful, humorous and thought-provoking relationships Recognition unearths between how the world is represented in British art and up-to-the-minute news.”

Eric Horvitz, Technical Fellow and Director of Microsoft Research Lab at Redmond and IK Prize judge, said: “Microsoft’s partnership with Tate is rooted in the belief that technology can make a profound difference in our lives and allow everyone to experience and achieve more – whether that’s in the world of Art, the world of work, or elsewhere.  Ongoing advances in AI technologies are enabling new partnerships between people and machines. The Recognition project was motivated by the promise of this kind of collaboration. We envision a world where humans and machines work together in new ways to do amazing things. I congratulate the team from Fabrica on winning the IK Prize and going on to build Recognition.”

Tate’s 2016 IK Prize asked digital creatives to put forward a vision for using AI to explore, investigate or ‘understand’ British art from the Tate collection in a new way.

Kerstin Mogull, Managing Director, Tate, said: “The aim of the IK Prize is to promote digital creativity. Partnering this year with Microsoft, we have focused on artificial intelligence, bringing cutting-edge and exciting technology to the forefront of how audiences can engage with Tate’s collection in the digital sphere. We expect Recognition to stimulate unusual and interesting encounters between art and current events in new, thought-provoking ways.”


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Written By

Iain is a creative writer, journalist and lecturer, and formerly an editor of two international business publications. Iain is now editor of Innovators Magazine, as well as the strategic content director for OnePoint5Media.


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