And sometimes AI is actually useful…

Any talk about AI tends to be radically polarized. The lovers and the haters seem to have zero middle ground in common.

I’m personally cautious about AI…for now. There are copyright issues yet to be sorted out, and most of the tools like ChatGPT (which I’ve tried) produce generic pablum that requires just as much work to make it useful, as it would take to start from scratch and build things myself.

In my fiction, I am certainly pro-AI! The Ptolemy Lane series is a case in point.

So I’m watching the whole debate and the court cases with some interest.

However, it seems that sometimes, contemporary AI can actually be useful. With no qualifications.

This is one such time. The Economist recently reported that AI was used to rebuild the contents of Roman scrolls that had been so badly damaged in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 C.E., that they could not be unrolled without crumbling to dust.

AI tools were used to decipher nearly 85% of the content of each scroll.

But that’s just the beginning. Can you imagine what might be in those scrolls? This is new text from the first century! The things we might learn from those scrolls could be mind-boggling. The scrolls were recovered from a villa in Herculaneum, which was the harbor town serving Pompeii. In the first century, the Roman Emperor Vespasianus died in June, and Titus took the throne. Titus was the emperor who invaded Britain that same year. Rome was reaching the extent of its domains and the height of its power.

And we might yet gain a different glimpse of those times thanks to AI.

2 thoughts on “And sometimes AI is actually useful…”

  1. Susan Savopoulos

    I would love to see these published so everyone could read them! I can’t even imagine what they would show. JUST WOW

    1. Never mind that they’re in very old Latin, but yes — the factual glimpses into history, compared to the conjecture that historians and archeologists usually use would be hugely interesting!

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