Research investigates the use of AI in the Brazilian culture sector and its implications for cultural diversity
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Study by Cetic.br|NIC.br interviewed cultural agents and institutions, and digital platforms operating in the country
Unprecedented in the country and dealing with a topic that is little explored around the world, the publication “Artificial Intelligence and culture: perspectives for cultural diversity in the digital age” reveals that the use of AI is still incipient in the Brazilian cultural sector, except in case of the distribution and access to online content through major digital platforms. Conducted by the Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society (Cetic.br) of the Brazilian Network Information Center (NIC.br), the publication was released on Tuesday (27/09) during a debate that formed part of the agenda of the “UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development – MONDIACULT 2022.”
Part of the NIC.br series of Sectoral Studies, the research gives an overview of how the culture area has used emerging technologies, such as AI. Data were collected by way of qualitative research that was carried out with cultural agents (artists and producers), cultural institutions (museums and culture centers), and digital platforms that offer cultural content on the Internet. In addition to the research, the publication also features texts and articles by specialists in the subject.
“AI is not only found in content recommendation systems based on algorithms, but also in the creation of artistic works by machine learning mechanisms, in the production, editing, and adaptation of content, in cultural mediation during guided tours in cultural institutions, in providing services to the public by way of virtual assistants, in the organization and availability of digital collections, in cultural management and data analysis for mapping audiences and developing promotional strategies, among many other applications. There is a variety of uses that, to a greater or lesser extent, have implications with regard to the diversity of cultural expressions”, said Alexandre Barbosa, the manager of Cetic.br|NIC.br.
The main application of artificial intelligence as used by digital platforms is in “recommendation systems”, which define the content that is offered based on criteria that are related to consumption habits and the previous choices of users.
These algorithms are used in different ways on the digital platforms that operate in Brazil. Large commercial platforms, which have a greater volume of users, use AI as a central element of their business model, with algorithmic recommendation systems being the main technology for the personalized offer of cultural content, especially music and videos.
“While this process enables the personalization of the experience based on user preferences, it also reinforces consumption patterns and directs access towards popular content, which can result in the underrepresentation of local and independently produced content, and in homogenizing trends in the creation and production of new works,” in the analysis of Barbosa.
The study also shows that alternative public or independent platforms, that have a lower volume of users, adopt AI applications little, with human curation prevailing, which may be the result of institutional barriers (such as a lack of budget and technical staff), but also of programmatic choices that aim to disseminate content that is representative of cultural diversity.
AI systems are used by cultural institutions in the Brazilian scenario particularly for cultural mediation, mapping audiences, and managing and disseminating digital collections.
According to the study, such uses have enabled greater public interactivity with the works, the personalization of the visitor experience, and the supply of data for institutions to plan their actions. In terms of managing and disseminating digital collections, AI has been used to qualify documentation automatically, and to provide access through integrated search systems.
The research shows that the lack of financial resources and specialized technical staff are still obstacles, which means that cultural projects are generally carried out through partnerships with large companies and international platforms, thus increasing the dependence on external technological solutions.
“Generally speaking, the study shows that the strategic technology agenda has not yet been fully assimilated by the Brazilian cultural sector. Despite the use of emerging technologies, which are already found in some institutions, there is still much to do to improve in terms of policies and opportunities for using and accessing these resources better,” Barbosa concluded.
Among cultural agents – artists and cultural producers in the visual arts and music – AI has been used in creative processes with an operational purpose (in procedures such as editing, mixing, and mastering), but also in aesthetics, where AI appears as the final object of artistic creation.
According to the study’s conclusions, the popularization of AI-based applications in these stages has enabled the optimization of processes and the democratization of production, resulting in opportunities for including new professionals in the cultural sector. These opportunities, however, are still limited because of existing digital inequalities in the access and appropriation of technologies in Brazil.
To access the full study, click here. Watch also the publication launch debate: https://youtu.be/KD6J67XgVuo.
NIC.br’s Regional Center for Studies on the Development of the Information Society (Cetic.br) is responsible for producing indicators and statistics on Internet access and use in Brazil, and for publishing analyses and periodic information on the development of the network in the country. Cetic.br|NIC.br is also a Regional Center for Studies under the auspices of UNESCO, and completed 17 years of operations in 2022. More information is available at: https://cetic.br/.
About the Brazilian Network Information Center – NIC.br
The Brazilian Network Information Center – NIC.br (https://nic.br/) is a non-profit entity that is in charge of the operations related to the .br domain, as well as the allocation of IP numbers and the registration of autonomous systems in the country. NIC.br has been implementing decisions and projects of the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee – CGI.br since 2005. All the funds that are collected come from its entirely private activities. It takes actions and conducts projects that are of benefit to the infrastructure of the Internet in Brazil. Also part of NIC.br are: Registro.br (https://registro.br), CERT.br (https://cert.br/), Ceptro.br (https://ceptro.br/), Cetic.br (https://cetic.br/), IX.br (https://ix.br/), and Ceweb.br (https://ceweb.br), in addition to projects like Internetsegura.br (https://internetsegura.br) and the portal Best Practices for the Internet in Brazil (https://bcp.nic.br/). It also houses the office of the W3C Chapter São Paulo (https://w3c.br/).
About the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee – CGI.br
The Brazilian Internet Steering Committee, which is responsible for establishing strategic guidelines related to the use and development of the Internet in Brazil, coordinates and integrates all Internet service initiatives in the country, and promotes technical quality, innovation, and the dissemination of the services on offer. Based on the principles of multisectoralism and transparency, CGI.br represents a democratic Internet governance model that has been internationally praised, in which all sectors of society participate equally in its decisions. One of its formulations is the 10 Principles for Internet Governance and Use (https://cgi.br/resolucoes/documento/2009/003). More information is available at: https://cgi.br/.
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