IBM's Watson Talks with Museum Visitors

IBM launched the "Voice of Art" project at Pinacoteca de São Paulo, a visual arts museum in Brazil. Through the project, which will run through August 5, visitors can ask IBM's Watson cognitive assistant about seven art pieces shown at the Pinacoteca via a smartphone equipped with headsets and the mobile 'Voice of Art' app.

The cognitive chatbot uses voice recognition and natural language services on IBM Bluemix, plus beacon sensors and Bluetooth geolocation technology to enable the smartphone interaction. Museum visitors can also engage with Watson via a written chatbot dialogue.

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.

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).

"In a world with pervasive technology, museums should not be the exception," said Paulo Vicelli, director of institutional relations at Pinacoteca de São Paulo, in a statement. "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.

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