China Focus: Chinese museums enter AI era

Source: Xinhua| 2018-05-18 20:14:03|Editor: Xiang Bo
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SHANGHAI, May 18 (Xinhua) -- China's cultural department said Friday that its "Artificial Intelligence Museum" project with the search engine Baidu had brought 2,894 museums onto a digital museum map, giving easier public access to museums.

Guan Qiang, deputy director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH), said Friday that after the administration signed the cooperation agreement with Baidu in December 2017, some 2,894 of China's 5,000 museums had joined.

Clicking a museum on the AI museum map on the Baidu search engine, people can find its real-time map, introduction and museum tour tips.

Baidu Senior Vice President Xiang Hailong said three museums would take the lead in AI museum solutions: Emperor Qinshihuang's Mausoleum Site Museum, built on the original site of the Terracotta Warriors, as well as Suzhou Museum and Shanghai History Museum.

In the coming three years, the museums will provide visitors smart maps for searching for exhibits, AI technology-aided exhibitions and education.

Li Yanhong, chair and CEO of Baidu, said that once you take a photo of the world-renowned Terracotta Warriors using the Baidu App, image recognition and AR technology would bring the Terracotta Warriors "back to life," as the app can automatically match the photo with the exhibit and send you a video showing how the grey terracotta warriors transformed to their original colors as they were more than 2,000 years ago.

The International Council of Museums chose "Hyperconnected museums: New approaches, new publics" as the theme for this year's International Museum Day, which falls Friday.

SACH and Baidu co-sponsored the official launch of the project Friday with the theme "Inheriting Culture civilization with technology: The AI Museum Project."

There are more than 80,000 museums in the world. Nearly 70 percent are less than 40 years old.

Digital technology is becoming one of the important driving forces for the development of museums. Technology such as the Internet of Things, big data, cloud computing and AI give visitors a "time traveling" experience in museum tours, according to Guan.

Earlier this year, the Hubei Provincial Museum introduced a robot tour guide to tell visitors the cultural background of one of the museum's top treasures -- "Blue and white bottle of Lin Hejing, Yuan Dynasty." In three days, the robot answered more than 7,000 questions.