background image
I X . 8
A ro a d m a p f o r i n t e l l i g e n c e i n
c u l t u ra l h e r i t a g e a p p l i c a t i o n s o f t h e f u t u re
One of the key objectives of the 6
Framework Programme is to increase the level of
"ambient intelligence" in people's everyday lives. For the cultural sector, this objective can
be translated into a shift from "easy access to information" to "facilitated interaction with
knowledge".This implies two strands of research: from access to interaction (two-way access
as explained in detail in the section on interactivity) and moving from static information
structures (databases) to dynamic, adaptive, high-quality knowledge structures (knowledge
systems).The objective is by no means a new one:The Japanese 5
Generation Project, the
British Alvey Project, and several other European initiatives of the mid-80s had similar
objectives, but lacked a "killer application" as well as an immediate need.
The situation changed dramatically in the mid-90s when the widespread acceptance of
the World-Wide-Web highlighted the need for semantic information integration (hence the
resurgence of "ontology-based" database interoperation themes since the mid-90s). At that
time, however, the 5
Framework Programme, in response to the realisation that
knowledge-based technologies of the 80s had been "over-hyped", had reverted back to
"proven technologies" and had re-focused on more modest aims. One lesson could be that
5-year programme cycles may be reasonable for technological advances along "known
research roads" but that far-sighted research needs a longer time horizon. It is argued that
Europe would be more competitive now , in "semantic web technologies", if a more
ambitious research policy had been maintained to carry over the advances of the early
(pre-WWW) 90s, for example in Logic Programming, Natural Language Processing (in
particular NL generation), and knowledge representation languages, as well as the
combination of neural networks, fuzzy logics, and symbolic reasoning.
Cultural Heritage Applications must be seen as one possible application domain for
systems that exhibit intelligent behaviour according to whichever metrics one chooses.
Therefore, it is necessary to look at the core services required at different levels of maturity,
and to derive from the generic advances needed in the relevant fields, those features that
will benefit cultural applications in particular.The following table distinguishes four levels
of increasing quality of service to be expected from future information systems.The table
entries are indicative rather than exhaustive, and the focus is on research and technology
related to "intelligence", rather than on any specific requirements of the cultural sector.