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How IBM Watson Talks with Visitors about Works of Art

IBM and Pincaoteca in Sao Paulo engage museumgoers with the “Voice of Art” experience with Watson.

IBM and Pincaoteca in Sao Paulo engage museumgoers with the “Voice of Art” experience with Watson.

To celebrate its 100th anniversary in Brazil, IBM announced that the “Voice of Art” project at Pinacoteca de São Paulo will run through August 5.

Visitors can ask IBM’s cognitive assistant about seven art pieces shown at the Pinacoteca via a smartphone equipped with headsets and the mobile ‘Voice of Art’ app. For greater accessibility, visitors can also engage via a written chatbot dialogue.

According to a study by Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica Aplicada (Ipea), 70 percent of Brazilians have never visited a museum or cultural center.

The project aims to use cognitive computing to provide a new way to experience art, explaining the stories behind the pieces and their historical context – with the ultimate goal of inspiring greater interest in art.

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Watson answers questions about seven works of art at the Pinacoteca: Mestiço, by Cândido Portinari (1934); Saudade, by Almeida Junior (1899); Ventania, by Antonio Parreiras (1888); São Paulo, by Tarsila do Amaral (1924); O Porco, by Nelson Leirner (1967); Bananal, by Lasar Segall (1927); and Lindonéia, a Gioconda do subúrbio, by Rubens Gerchman (1966).

The cognitive chatbot uses voice recognition and natural language services on IBM Bluemix, plus beacon sensors and Bluetooth geolocation technology to enable interaction via smartphone.

“In a world with pervasive technology, museums should not be the exception,” said Paulo Vicelli, Director of Institutional Relations at Pinacoteca de São Paulo. “The Pinacoteca is constantly reinventing itself and creating partnerships like this to engage with new audiences.”

The ‘Voice of Art’ Project was designed by IBM Brazil in collaboration with Ogilvy and the Pinacoteca teams.

Pinacoteca de São Paulo is a visual arts museum focused on Brazilian art, from the 19th Century to the contemporary time. Established in 1905 by the government of São Paulo State, it is stated to be the oldest art museum in the city.

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