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AI brings Immanuel Kant back to life to appeal to Gen Z audience

The great German philosopher, Immanuel Kant and his ideas on democracy, freedom, peace and justice have been brought back to life using AI that has created a modern-day persona designed to appeal to a Gen Z audience.
Image supplied. The great German philosopher, Immanuel Kant and his ideas on democracy, freedom, peace and justice have been brought back to life using AI that has created a modern-day persona designed to appeal to a Gen Z audience
Image supplied. The great German philosopher, Immanuel Kant and his ideas on democracy, freedom, peace and justice have been brought back to life using AI that has created a modern-day persona designed to appeal to a Gen Z audience

With wars and conflicts in 2024 Kant's ideas for peace and better coexistence are more important than ever, yet, today Kant is hardly read – his works are challenging and not easily accessible, especially for young people.

With this year being the 300th anniversary of his birthday on 22 April, the German association Friends of Kant and Königsberg worked with the agency Jung von Matt (JvM) Creators to bring Kant back to life.

The result is Manu, a 23-year-old influencer who, as @manumanukant, lives a typical young life in 2024.

His appearance, his voice, his texts – every component of the new Kant has been translated and brought to life as authentically as possible over 300 years.

Initially an AI-generated face, based on paintings of the philosopher, was projected onto a stand-in model, and a large language model was fine-tuned with Kant's original texts and adapted to a younger language.

His voice is a synthesised and AI-generated version of the real-life TikTok influencer, Ole Liebl.

The entire Manu account was created using the GenAI platform Stables.

AI to promote humanistic thinking

"Using AI to promote humanistic thinking may sound like a contradiction.

“But in reality, it shows how role play with an AI persona can inspire a new generation about Kant's school of thought," says Robert Andersen, managing director of JvM Creators.

“Kant’s thinking is still as fresh as 300 years ago. Finally, we have the technological means to make a younger generation not only fall in love with his looks but also his philosophy,” adds Daniel Schaefer CCO at JvM Creators.

Authentic influencer

Together all the elements create an authentic influencer, who has quickly built an engaged organic community.

With an Instagram bio that describes himself as “Spreading good vibes and deep thoughts” Manu is a handsome young guy who shares images, selfies (himself looking soulful in bookstores for example), stories, and reels and comments.

But alongside this aesthetic feed, Manu manages to convey profound philosophical concepts in contemporary language, casually introducing his followers to Kant's philosophy.

In one post, for example, he analyses the song lyrics of Miley Cyrus’ Flowers, explaining how they tie in with his ideas about the importance of self-respect and autonomy.

Since quietly launching on Instagram and Threads in January, the account, designed to peak on 22 April, Kant's 300th birthday, has achieved over 384,800 impressions, reached 82,400 accounts, and an engagement rate of 51.2%.

FacesForPeace filter

Alongside the Manu account, JvM Creators also created an Instagram teleprompter filter, FacesForPeace, allowing people to record themselves reciting one of Kant’s nine articles from Perpetual Peace.

This work was published by Kant in 1795 and describes how eternal peace can be achieved - a goal still worth striving for even after 300 years.

The FaceforPeace filter has a conversion rate of 61%.

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