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A Dialogue with Luigi Einaudi Is Now Possible, Thanks to Artificial Intelligence

Fondazione Einaudi, Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo and Reply have joined forces to make Luigi Einaudi’s cultural legacy accessible to all

Fondazione Luigi Einaudi Onlus of Turin, Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo, and Reply present “Pensiero Liberale, Dialogo Attuale” a project that uses artificial intelligence to make the economic thought of one of the most relevant personalities of the 20th century accessible to all through a conversation with a digital version of him.

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Using the potential of generative artificial intelligence and the most advanced technologies in hyperealistic 3D, we have created a Digital Human that not only mirrors Luigi Einaudi’s appearance, but has the ability to answer the interlocutor’s questions in a manner which is consistent with the historical figure’s thought. This overcomes all geographical, physical and generational barriers.

The project, a collaboration between the Einaudi Foundation, the Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation, and Reply, was carried out through a holistic approach. This approach combined historical and economic research with the use of advanced AI and 3D real time technologies, aiming to make Luigi Einaudi's intellectual legacy more accessible and relevant to an increasingly broad audience. (Photo: Reply)

The digital representation of Luigi Einaudi is designed to be made available on the Fondazione Einaudi website and accessible from any device. Through keyboard or voice input, students, specialists or anyone interested can start a conversation on key topics that are related to the former President of the Italian Republic’s economic thought: monopoly, competition, monetary and fiscal policy, market, banking, inflation, as well as his biography.

Together with the Einaudi Foundation, Reply worked on the definition of the artificial intelligence model, the creation of the digital human and the design of the experience. Machine Learning Reply built the generative conversational model specific to Luigi Einaudi’s thought by applying the proprietary framework of algorithm training and results validation based on MFRAME Reply. On top of that, Infinity Reply brought the digital human to life by replicating key elements of the historical figure’s appearance and iconic gestures thanks to 3D real time technologies. Bitmama Reply studied the user experience and designed the communication campaign that will be presented online and in print in the coming months.

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Ensuring coherence with Luigi Einaudi’s original thought was a crucial aspect of the project, and this was achieved through a generative artificial intelligence (AI) model trained specifically on his ideas. The Einaudi Foundation, with the support of Paolo Soddu, lecturer in Contemporary History and secretary of the National Edition of Luigi Einaudi’s writings, conducted a research on the most representative topics of Einaudi as an economist and selected the texts to be used in the generative AI model: a corpus consisting of 250,000 words taken from original volumes and collections available in digital format.

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The careful work of constructing the knowledge base, training the generative AI model and qualitatively validating the answers, carried out following the Reply methodology, now enables a lifelike conversation between the interlocutor and the digital representation of Luigi Einaudi. The digital human not only responds to specific questions on the topics found in the oral and written productions, but also offers the possibility of generating feedback on the answers given, making the interaction bidirectional.

“Pensiero Liberale, Dialogo Attuale” is part of a broader program by the Einaudi Foundation, initiated in 2021 with the digitisation of its historical archive. The program aims to enhance the precious historical-cultural heritage contained in the library, making knowledge increasingly accessible to current and future generations. The foundation is aware that an open-ended heritage and the expansion of forms of enjoyment, accompanied by the multiplication of the use of resources related to the heritage itself, will promote the broadest reach possible.

“What strikes me about Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the speed of its spread and the depth of the recent debate. In the spring and even in the summer months of this year, AI was a topic for the few. Today, it is on everyone’s lips and has captured the attention of all the media”, said Domenico Siniscalco, President of the Einaudi Foundation. “At the Einaudi Foundation, with the technological support of Reply and the decisive financial backing of the Compagnia di San Paolo, we had started working on it in the spring, taking advantage of the digitisation of the archive and the publication of the first volumes of Einaudi’s writings for the relevant National Edition, which were produced thanks to the Bank of Italy. The idea was to utilise that archive of writings, letters, and notes that was, to say the least, endless. It only took a few months and our project, which we are presenting here today, became one of many applications of AI for knowledge sharing. The project revolves around the liberal thought of Luigi Einaudi and it has certain characteristics, as it wants to make accessible all of Einaudi’s writings in the Foundation and on the web. This is a radical innovation that makes a leap forward in productivity and research possible, and also an expansion of the sources that can be used. I believe it will help keep the figure and thought of the President alive. In this sense, the project should not be used to look at the past, but to look forward, to the future.”

The project ‘Liberal Thought, Current Dialogue’ is in line with our interest and commitment in a strategic area to support the development of our country, in line with what is foreseen by the European agenda. Just think of the Digital Europe Programme or Next Generation EU, initiatives that involve a national declination in the strategic program for artificial intelligence 22-24. It’s a moving train, but above all a great development opportunity that, as a country, we are called to seize,” said Francesco Profumo, President of the Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation. “Faced with the multiple challenges that await us as a Foundation, we therefore confirm our commitment to providing answers to some of the social, environmental, technological, and economic challenges faced by philanthropic foundations. In particular, this project integrates the cultural heritage of Luigi Einaudi – economist, one of the masters of liberal thought, and the second president of the Italian Republic – with Artificial Intelligence and represents a step forward in the integration between cultural heritage and advanced technology.”

“Artificial intelligence,” said Tatiana Rizzante, CEO of Reply, “is rapidly permeating every aspect of our society, opening the door to new opportunities. Knowledge management is one of the areas to which Reply is paying particular attention. Managing knowledge with artificial intelligence means not only transforming the way data is accessed and information is extracted but also rethinking decision-making processes and the way people work. To support this change, we have conceived and developed MLFRAME Reply, a framework that integrates a proprietary methodology for database analysis with tools for creating conversational generative models applicable to specific domains of knowledge. This same framework today represents the intelligence component of Luigi Einaudi’s digital human, to which our team working on 3D real-time technologies has given a face and an image, this, in essence, being the creation of hyper-realistic digital humans. This synergy of skills and technologies has allowed us to extend the access to knowledge to a wider audience, creating an engaging connection between culture and people.

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