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Artificial intelligence arrives at Tate Britain

Eunuchs apply make-up before Raksha Bandhan festival celebrations in a red light area in Mumbai, India, August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

LONDON, UK. Tate Britain is today launching Recognition, winner of the IK Prize 2016 for digital innovation. Recognition is an artificial intelligence programme that compares up-to-the-minute photojournalism from Reuters with British art from the Tate collection.

Over three months from 2 September to 27 November 2016, Recognition will create an ever-expanding virtual gallery by searching through Tate’s archive and collection of British art online, comparing works with news images from Reuters based on visual and thematic similarities. Viewers around the world will be able to learn why the artificial intelligence programme selected each match. They will able to share their favourite matches online, looking at whether a machine can help us to look at the world anew through the lens of art. A display at Tate Britain accompanies the online project offering visitors to the gallery the chance to compare the machine’s matches with their own. The experiment will explore whether an artificial intelligence programme can learn from the many personal responses humans have when looking at images. The results will be presented on the virtual gallery website at the end of the project.

Recognition incorporates multiple artificial intelligence 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. Matches like LS Lowry’s Industrial Landscape 1955 with a construction image of Changi Airport in Singapore demonstrates how Recognition analyses objects, colours and composition.

Sir Peter Lely. Two Ladies of the Lake Familyc.1660 Tate. Matched by AI to the picture above from the news

The winning team (Angelo Semeraro, Coralie Gourguechon, Monica Lanaro and Isaac Vallentin) are based at Fabrica, a communication research centre in Treviso, Italy. They have worked with the artificial intelligence specialists, JoliBrain, to create Recognition. Tate’s 2016 IK Prize, in partnership with Microsoft, invited digital creatives, from researchers and software developers to artists and designers, to propose a project using artificial intelligence that will explore, investigate or ‘understand’ British art from the Tate collection in a new way. The Fabrica team received a £15,000 prize and £90,000 production budget to turn their idea into reality in collaboration with Tate and Microsoft.

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.”

The IK Prize, named in memory of the philanthropist Irene Kreitman, celebrates creative talent in the digital industry. Initiated in 2013 by the Porter Foundation (IK Prize 2014 and 2015), the IK Prize is presented by Tate to a team, company or individual for an original idea that uses digital technology to explore art on display at Tate Britain and on the Tate website. The 2016 competition, in partnership with Microsoft, challenged digital creatives to come up with a project using a form of artificial intelligence to explore British art in the Tate collection.

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