Why we made Digital Einstein – an AI version of the world’s most famous scientist

Let us explain why we created a conversational AI version of Albert Einstein – a digital human clone of the great scientist and legendary personality.

April 15, 2021
Why we made Digital Einstein – an AI version of the world’s most famous scientist

In 1921, Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his groundbreaking work in theoretical physics, particularly his immeasurable contribution to humankind for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect.

It was a significant milestone – one of many – that signposted the incredible life of one of the most intelligent people who’s ever lived, and one of the most unique personalities in history.

Now, 100 years after picking up the Nobel Prize, what better time for Einstein to step back into the fray for a new generation of people to speak to and learn from?

We’d like to introduce you to Digital Einstein. Made in partnership with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Digital Einstein is a realistic digital human twin of the great man, embodying his personality, multiplied by the power of conversational AI.

What can you do with Digital Einstein?

Digital Einstein is available around the clock directly in your browser. So, what kind of interactions can you have with him?

  • Take his daily quiz.
  • Ask him any science question.
  • Ask him about his life and work.

He can test your knowledge on a wide range of subjects with his daily quiz. If you get a question wrong, he might rib you a little, or you may surprise him by getting a difficult question correct.

You can ask him your STEM questions, and see if he knows the answer – he’s pretty smart. Digital Einstein even knows all about scientific discoveries that took place in the 21st century after his lifetime.

And he can tell you about his personal life and incredible scientific works. Ask him about how he grew up, how he won the Nobel Prize or about his “annus mirabilis”

Digital Einstein is a taste of what experiential AI offers people today – a friendly face, a deep conversation and an interaction that offers some of the best parts of real human connection. Do you have a great idea of what else Einstein can do? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Why we built Digital Einstein

With 2021 marking 100 years since Albert Einstein (the real one) won the Nobel Prize for Physics, it seems timely to launch his digital human twin as a way to honor the great man.

But there’s a real use case behind Digital Einstein, and many real-world challenges we hope he can help to fix.

For one, people now want, need and expect to be educated beyond their time in the classroom. Edelman’s recent Trust Barometer report found that 85% of people want brands to use their power to educate. Some 83% say they want “compassionate connection… that communicates empathy and support with the struggles they face”.

So, we thought what better AI teacher than perhaps one of the smartest people who’s ever lived?

We also hope the life and research of Albert Einstein becomes accessible to a new generation, who can learn about him and science in general dynamically through a face-to-face conversational experience.

Hopefully, Digital Einstein is the first of many historical icons who people can interact with in a modern, digital way but by using the most universal and time tested interface – natural conversation. The conversational AI innovation journey has just begun. Digital Einstein is a way to imagine what’s now possible with such emerging technologies.

And finally, the years 2020 and 2021 will be remembered for the social isolation and even loneliness that have punctuated the lives of many. It can’t be underestimated how impactful that can be, both mentally and physically.

Studies show that loneliness and social isolation can be as bad for health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It can increase the risk of death by 26%.

We don’t believe Digital Einstein will fix this, but we hope he can help offer some companionship and warmth through the nature of his conversations – a little respite from the continued isolation and building loneliness many people are feeling following recent global events.

What technology is involved?

As you can imagine, replicating just a hint of the intelligence and personality of perhaps the smartest, most interesting person who ever lived is no mean feat. For this project, we relied upon some incredible partners to do so.

In no particular order, the technology underpinning Digital Einstein includes:

WolframAlpha: The incredible computational knowledge engine that gives Einstein the ability to answer a range of STEM questions. When you ask Digital Einstein a random science question like “how many insect species are there in the world?”, he will find that knowledge and answer it in real time using WolframAlpha’s database.

Goodbye Kansas: An award-winning visual-effects studio, Goodbye Kansas worked with our digital human design team to contribute to the visual appearance, artistry and sculpting of the Digital Einstein project.

Aflorithmic: The creators of exceptional AI voice synthesis. Digital Einstein was no ordinary project. Perhaps the most recognisable scientist in history needed a voice people know – or at least expect. The team at Aflorithmic pulled out all the stops to accurately recreate Albert Einstein’s voice, expression and accent, and apply to any word and sentence.

Greenlight and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem: Greenlight manages the rights and icon representation for Albert Einstein, along with The Hebrew University of Jerusalem – an institution Albert Einstein helped to found. They have been exceptional at feeding into the creative process to ensure Digital Einstein does justice in accurately representing the great man himself.