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Data Science, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence for Art Posted on Jun 13 - 2018

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Data Science, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are fields from computer science that have already penetrated many industries and companies around the world. Their adoption is almost certainly correlated with the rise in “big data” over the last decade.

Advanced data analytics has the potential to transform the way companies understand insights, organize activity, and create value. Progress with programming languages, open source libraries and cloud computing have also made it easier for these methods to be applied effectively to data.

The Art market remains a sector where the data analytics revolution has yet to properly begin, until now.

This blog post will explain how state-of-the-art data science, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) methods are being used in the art market by Thread Genius, a firm acquired by Sotheby’s, the oldest international auction house in the world (Est. 1744). I’ll give you some insight into our team dynamics, the problems we are solving and how we are doing it.

What exactly is machine learning and artificial intelligence?

That’s a good question. Firstly, data science is a discipline where data is used and analyzed to test hypotheses, answer questions and understand insights.

Machine Learning is when computational tools and statistical techniques are leveraged to give computers the ability to learn from, and with, data. Yufeng G from Google Cloud uses a more refined definition in his article: “using data to answer questions”.

Artificial Intelligence is when computational tools start to possess cognitive abilities — for the purposes of this post, AI will refer to “deep learning” techniques that use artificial neural networks.

Who are Thread Genius?

Thread Genius is an artificial intelligence startup founded by Ahmad Qamar and Andrew Shum in 2015 and was acquired by Sotheby’s in January 2018. Both founders used to work at Spotify prior to starting Thread Genius. The main use of its technology was a visual search engine that applied deep learning techniques using artificial neural networks for the fashion industry. View More


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