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AI Unveils Secrets: 2,000-Year-Old Vesuvius Scroll Resurrected

Photo: Vesuvius Challenge

Washington witnesses a breakthrough as three researchers win $700,000 for utilizing artificial intelligence in decoding a scroll scorched during Mount Vesuvius' 79 CE eruption. The Herculaneum papyri, containing 800 Greek scrolls, were carbonized during this event that buried Pompeii.

The Vesuvius Challenge, involving high-resolution CT scans of four scrolls, offered a $1 million prize for research. The winning team, including Youssef Nader, Luke Farritor, and Julian Schilliger, employed AI for distinguishing ink from papyrus and unveiling faint Greek lettering through pattern recognition.

The scrolls, resembling logs of hardened ash, are stored in Paris and Naples and have faced significant damage, making unrolling attempts challenging. The winning team's efforts have uncovered about five percent of the scroll's content.

Believed to be authored by Epicurean philosopher Philodemus, the scroll discusses various topics, including music, food, and the pursuit of life's pleasures. Discovered in a villa linked to Julius Caesar's father-in-law, the property potentially holds thousands more manuscripts.

The competition, initiated by computer scientist Brent Seales and GitHub founder Nat Friedman, aims to revolutionize Herculaneum papyrology and Greek philosophy. Only 3-5% of ancient Greek texts have survived, making this AI-assisted discovery monumental.

Federica Nicolardi of the University of Naples Federico II sees it as the start of a revolution, emphasizing its uniqueness as the sole library from ancient Roman times. The scroll's closing section intriguingly criticizes unnamed ideological adversaries, possibly the Stoics.

The next competition phase aims to leverage AI research to unlock 85% of the scroll, promising further insights into this ancient text. This discovery marks a significant stride in the field and kindles anticipation for unfolding revelations from the remaining portions of this historical scroll.


(Aside from the headline, DXB News Network staff have not made any edits to this story; it is published from a syndicated feed)

Feb. 6, 2024 12:02 p.m. 1402

#breakingnews #worldnews #headlines #topstories #globalUpdate #dxbnewsnetwork #dxbnews #dxbdnn #dxbnewsnetworkdnn #AIInHistory #VesuviusScroll #HerculaneumPapyri #AncientTexts #Philodemus #HistoricalDiscovery #AIInnovation #ArchaeoTech #CulturalHeritage #TextDecoding #AncientScroll #Papyrology #GreekPhilosophy #ArtificialIntelligence

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