back to article DeepMind AI tool helps historians restore ancient texts

AI software can help historians interpret and date ancient texts by reconstructing works destroyed over time, according to a new paper published in Nature. A team of computer scientists and experts in classical studies led by DeepMind and Ca' Foscari University of Venice trained a transformer-based neural network to restore …

  1. Tom 7

    I feel old!

    Γαμώτο κουλ!

  2. Gene Cash Silver badge

    The best results are reached when human and machine work together

    Translation: they make different guesses, so they're more likely to hit the jackpot.

    1. Woodnag


      Just as long as the published text shows what parts are the guessed text. 72 per cent =/ restored.

  3. Richard Tobin

    Needs to be used with care

    Being trained on documents from which our existing knowledge of ancient history is derived, it runs the risk of interpreting texts so as to conform to that knowledge, and missing unexpected facts.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Needs to be used with care

      It doesn't interpret. It interpolates.

    2. Notas Badoff

      Re: Needs to be used with care

      "... judge whether the model's guesses seem accurate or not." So, more like what I know already?

      Like so many other areas of life, adding computers/AI to the mix amplifies positives and negatives. Here it amplifies the guessednesses. (I'm sure that's a word! I just filled in a couple letters between known-good parts.)

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. jake Silver badge

    This is interpolation, not science.

    Best guesses are still just guesses. Let's not get all excited and think that this thing is re-creating a lost original. Just because there is a computer in the mix doesn't make it so. As they say, it's at best 72% accurate with known texts. Gawd/ess only knows how far off it is with the unknown ones.

    Put another way, it is between a third and a quarter made-up bullshit. Ask any school teacher how accurate a child's overall paper will be if it's that full of error.

  5. lglethal Silver badge

    Not really relevant but...

    a historian with the name Thea studying Ancient Greece. Nominative Determinism for the win!

  6. redpawn

    I could use this

    I can read about 25% of my wife's handwriting, with her help I can read about 80%.

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: I could use this

      Is she a doctor by any chance?

      Those sound about the correct statistics for any doctor I've ever visited...

  7. herman
    Paris Hilton

    Ancient Texting

    The buzzword blurb sounds like someone started to use a texting app with a predictive keyboard for Greek.

    That is how Paris would do it...

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