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Art Advisors Can Now be Replaced by an Algorithm

Machines can make paintings. Now, they can recommend which ones you’ll like.
(Roxy Paine, PMU [Painting Manufacture Unit], 1999-2000. Image via Jamescohan.com)

A good art advisor balances more intricate relationships and knowledge than one would think. (Read artnet News’ article “Art Demystified: What Is The Role of Art Advisors?”) But now, Sotheby’s auction house has announced that it has acquired a New York-based startup called Thread Genius, which uses image recognition technology, reports The Art Newspaper. It uses the technology to mine a database of 50,000 images of works previously sold at auction that the house acquired in order to identify what a particular collector may prefer.

Thread Genius was started by two former Spotify engineers who work alongside a Sotheby’s data scientist. The auction house CEO states that the technology can provide “our staff with better tools, our clients with a better experience and our consignors with even better results.”

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