Both readings about AI in museums provided new insights into the role that AI can play in the museum realm. The article “How are museums using artificial intelligence, and is AI the future of museums?” mentions several different examples of AI implementations in museums, such as Berenson, a robotic art critic that records people’s reactions to art to develop its own taste. Another example is Pepper, a robot that interacts with visitors through voice and storytelling. These AI implementations encourage more engagement and deeper thinking from visitors. However, I feel that people may want to interact with the AI simply because it is AI. I am curious about the extent to which a visitor’s motive to engage with the AI stems from a genuine place of interest to learn more about an exhibit and the museum content, or to interact with the AI for the sake of AI. Does the root of why the user chooses to engage matter? On one hand, engagement is engagement regardless of whether the visitor is actually interested in the exhibit or just playing around with AI. At the end of the interaction, they will have more knowledge regardless of their motive. But, I feel that a museum may lose the essence of what they are trying to convey/exhibit under flashy AI robots and implementations. As technologies develop, I think it is even more important for museums/institutions to consider whether the tools they are implementing are necessary or not.
Like the article states, AI tools such as websites, chatbots, and analytics tools can definitely improve the visitor experience. It is mentioned that AI can help improve access visitors have to the museum by predicting no-shows and allow museum staff to adjust ticket capacities. One thing that came to my mind when I read this was the reading on storytelling, and how opening a door is not enough to make underrepresented members of communities feel more welcome in attending museums. How can AI systems allow for more accessibility for all members of society in the museum realm? The article “A Museum’s Experience with AI” gives us insight into how museum collections can be made more accessible to non-english speakers and provides a glimpse into what a more equitable museum experience may look like. In terms of generative AI, there are many potential uses in the museum field. Generative AI can be used to facilitate art restoration projects, create more immersive experiences, provoke imagination and sensory experiences, etc. I envision a future where generative AI is used to enhance museum experiences for people of all ages and backgrounds, allow for more collaborative processes between museum professionals and community members (improving communication, facilitating decision-making, understanding data, etc), and more. With the advent of a new technological age, it is of course important to consider the potential biases that may be embedded in the foundation models of AI systems and how these may translate into the museum realm.