Michelangelo’s David Can Now ‘Talk’ to Fans

Admirers can now “chat” with Michelangelo’s iconic David sculpture starting on December 15, 2021.

A new advancement in technology can be used to add to the experience at Florence’s Accademia Gallery — guests, actual and potential, are able to chat with artificial intelligence based on the sculpture of David by Michelangelo. Visitors can go to https://www.galleriaaccademiafirenze.it/ and tap on a bubble on the bottom right of the screen to enter a discussion with a bot dubbed “Chat with David.” Questions that can be asked include historic events, artistic background on the sculpture’s construction, information on the religious story behind David’s fight with the Goliath or even just regular questions that anyone is curious to ask. 

The idea of presenting David through a chatbot came from director of the Accademia Gallery, Cecilie Hollberg, who wanted to follow the directives of the Ministry of Culture that support the expansion of the use of digital media to promote Italian cultural heritage. The tools used to make this AI possible is thanks to Querlo, a New York-based company specialized in creating apps and software that use artificial intelligence. 

The chatbot software in Accademia Gallery uses Deep Learning, where after a long period of configuring how the bot responds to questions with a set of guidelines, it will gradually become more adept at understanding and answering whatever may be asked. The development process of this AI David was aided by a collaboration with the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, led by a team of students under the tutelage of Professor Federica Chezzi. This group consisted of students from the academy, along with individuals from other universities, who were initially tasked with asking David what they thought a tourist would ask him. These included: “Why are you considered a symbol?,” “What did you do to defeat the Goliath?,” “Do you like music?,” “What was Michelangelo like?,” “Do you like Florence?,” “What language do you speak?,” “Why are you naked?,” and so on. (nelson matos)