INNOVATION: Artificial Intelligence that matches the past to the present through art

The time warp isn’t just a really groovy song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, my friends – there is some really cool technology out there that is capable of bringing the past and present together in the blink of an eye. The coolest part? It’s all about art. Recognition was an artificial intelligence program that compared artworks at Tate Britan with up-to-the-minute photojournalism, looking for visual and thematic similarities between artworks and the endless stream of online news images and then displaying them side-by-side. The results were striking, humorous, controversial, thought provoking and often simply beautiful.

Recognition was developed by JoliBrain using DeepDetect and Densecap, using a range of artificial intelligence technologies to simulate how humans see and understand visual images.  A deep neural network finds objects from the image, then tries to label them by crafting a short sentence. A similarity search engine then looks for the top object matches among Tate artworks. Over the course of its three-month lifespan, Recognition produced 7271 matches between British art in the Tate collection and up-to-the-minute news images provided by Reuters. Curious to see what some of the matches were? You can take a look at the retrospective here.