A transparent and explainable dialogue system for assisting immigrants and non-profit organizations on administrative and legal matters in Italy.

Nowadays, dialogue systems are largely applied in many contexts of AI due to their capabilities of being powerful tools for interacting with users and providing assistance and information. These systems can be used both by companies and government institutions to provide support and information in an accessible way.
Some contexts, such as immigration and medicine, require that the user is provided with complete and correct answers. At the same time, such an answer often requires relying on personal and sensitive information, whose use and storage may be regulated by laws such as the E.U.'s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
In a previous MP, “Ethical Chatbots”, we proposed a chatbot architecture based on a mixture of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and argumentative reasoning, with the purpose to ensure data protection while providing personalized service to the individual.
In this novel MP, we propose to implement that architecture to address a specific challenging case study: application for international protection in Italy.
For a person who immigrates to a new country, understanding the local legislation and administrative procedures is fundamental for knowing the rights, duties, and possibilities that the person has in the new Country. However, this can be tricky when international or humanitarian protection is involved, because of the intricacies of Italian immigration law. In Italy, legal and administrative issues related to evaluating asylum applications and further retaining protection are very complex, making it difficult for someone who is already troubled by the life threats they are escaping from, to handle the process alone. Therefore, many immigrants seek the help of Italian mediators, such as voluntary associations and NGOs, to understand what they need to do.
Our purpose is to develop a tool able to support such mediators with actionable intelligence. Such a tool will help them provide answers and explanations over relevant topics, evaluate options for international protection, and identify actions to be taken by protection applicants and recipients. Our primary aim is not to replace the human being who is responsible for providing the correct answer, but rather to help the helpers so as to empower their mediation effort at a scale.
The tool will rely on state-of-the-art NLP techniques and large language models, to understand the information provided by the user and match them with the knowledge in the system. The reasoning process necessary to provide the answer will be fully based on argumentation and therefore perfectly explainable and auditable. The system only consider or retain information that is strictly necessary to provide the answer to the question, thereby respecting the GDPR’s principles of data minimization.
The project will include the participation of legal experts on the topic of immigration and specifically regarding asylum requests. They will provide knowledge about Italian laws and procedures over which the system will perform reasoning. They will also interact with lawyers, judges, and NGOs to obtain feedback regarding the tool and to set up a validation of the final result.
If budget permits, an in-person meeting will be organized with domain experts and stakeholders in Naples, home to the project’s legal expert team.
The MP fits the call for “ELS evaluation projects (WP5)” since it aims to implement and test ELS principles in a real-world scenario.
The project will be divided into 3 phases. 1) Deciding which specific cases will be covered by the dialogue system: the choice will be guided by expert advice. 2) Implementation of the solution, including interaction with experts for feedback. 3) Validation of the solution, through testing with experts and real-world requests.


The main result of this MP is a transparent and explainable interactive prototype chatbot that can be used to obtain useful information in the legal and administrative context. The software will be open source: all the code will be publicly released in a dedicated online repository.
By the end of the MP we plan to deliver a functioning demo focused on specific topics, such as asylum requests under the current Italian legislation.

Project Partners

  • University of Bologna, Andrea Galassi
  • University of Calabria, Bettina Fazzinga
  • University of Naples, Margherita Vestoso

Primary Contact

Andrea Galassi, University of Bologna