Artificial Intelligence for museums keeps getting better

Artificial Intelligence for museums keeps getting better

April 6, 2017 by Andrea Goulet
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After extensive experiments from the Cooper-Hewitt around chatbots, other museums have gone on with experimenting with this new way of engaging their audiences.

At the end of last month, two chatbots joined the small crew of museum-powered conversational tools to inform audience everywhere about History and art.

On Facebook, a natural place for chatbots, the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam has launched a Messenger bot that allows users to discover the History of Anne Frank and her history on the one hand and find practical information about coming to the museum on the other hand.

On a historical level, the bot offers different conversation paths, allowing the users to choose between knowing more about different sides of Anne Frank’s story in bite-sized pieces that make it easy to grasp, from her diary to the World War II context it was written in. While the museum also allows visitors from the whole world to discover its on-site must-sees, it is also meant to help them understand the risks and effects of racism and discrimination that society is facing today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPH4vUWcN2U

While the Anne Frank House bot carries a strong social message, others are more strictly focused on the discovery of their collection. It is the case for the SFMOMA. Choosing a tech similar to the Cooper-Hewitt’s Object Phone by focusing on texting, the museum has been testing a service with which users send texts to their number with keywords and receive answers with a picture of a piece of the collection with its title, artist and year of creation. It is a way to make their artworks more accessible to users all around the world (although users outside of the US can be charged for texts to an American number), reaching out to different audiences as they did with their audioguide.

The project – called “Send me SFMOMA” – underwent a beta-test phase that is now over, but it could respond to anything from “Send me kite” to “Send me trucks”, sometimes answering with pictures that would miss the actual keyword. The testing phase is now over and the bot is momentarily not available to use, but we cannot wait to see how it evolves, maybe allowing more complex interactions, such as the access to more information about artworks or the ability to receive answers to more complex questions.