Towards Culturally Aware AI Systems

Biases in data can be both explicit and implicit. Explicitly, ‘The Dutch Seventeenth Century’ and ‘The Dutch Golden Age’ are pseudo-synonymous and refer to a particular era of Dutch history. Implicitly, the ‘Golden Age’ moniker is contested due to the fact that the geopolitical and economic expansion came with great costs, such as the slave trade. A simple two-word phrase can carry strong contestations, and entire research fields, such as post-colonial studies, are devoted to them. However, these sometimes subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) differences in voice are as yet not often represented well in AI systems.

In this talk, I will discuss how the Cultural AI Lab is working towards creating AI systems that are implicitly or explicitly aware of the subtle and subjective complexity of human culture. I will highlight the different research strands and activities that look at AI from different angles as well as how we engage with our user communities to create synergies between the technology and the daily practice of cultural heritage professionals.


Marieke van Erp

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Digital Humanities Tilburg