Would you trust artificial intelligence to put together a whole programme of science festival events and activities for you? Here's what happened when the Cheltenham Science Festival did exactly that... 

Marieke Navin; New Head of Programming at Cheltenham Science Festival, decided to pair up  with the help of Bristol-based A.I creatives Tiny Giant and Sharpshooter Digital and their neural network AIDA  who was named after the iconic 19th century computing pioneer, Ada Lovelace.

AIDA is a artificial neural network - a type of machine who learns algorithm, which takes source material, creates a model from it and then predicts new content. AIDA is a pro at creating recipes for cupcakes and cocktails, but this is the first time she has been a guest curator at The Cheltenham Science Festival. 

Kerry Harrison from Tiny Giant said: “We trained AIDA’s neural network on 10 years’ worth of Cheltenham Science Festival event titles and descriptors. It then took 10 days for her to learn and for us to refine the output. We’ve picked four of her best ideas and are asking the public to vote on which event should take place at the Festival.”

The events being put to the public vote are:

• Space of Dinosaurs

• Introvert Narwhals

• Aliens what what?

• The perfume Greenland mystery

Get your vote in! Use the Cheltenham Festivals official Twitter poll on @cheltfestivals. Then it’s over to the humans to assemble a panel to discuss the chosen event at Cheltenham Science Festival (4-9 June 2019).


Cheltenham Science Festival
Cheltenham Science Festival

Cheltenham Science Festival brings together people of all ages who are curious about the wonders of the everyday world, the mysteries of the universe and cutting-edge technology. The tented Festival village hosts hundreds of free family-friendly activities, while the UK’s science community gathers to share their latest ideas in thought-provoking and entertaining ways. ‘Be The Change’ is the theme for this year’s Festival. Over 300 scientists, thinkers, writers and young activists will explore major issues facing the world today and seek the common ground between passion and reason.



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