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How AI Helps Historians Solve Ancient Puzzles

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A historical artifact bearing writing.

The adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques is making research on historical artifacts and handwritten records faster and more efficient.

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning techniques are helping historians restore or recreate archaeological artifacts from photos of fragments.

Ayellet Tal of Israel's Technion University said applying algorithmic techniques to historical research can improve AI's capabilities.

AI models can be taught how to reverse the erosion process, predict what the original fragments looked like, and test whether fragments fit together.

Said Tal, "We want to transform archaeology and we want to advance computer vision because these tasks are where current algorithms fail."

Meanwhile, researchers at Google's DeepMind and the University of Oxford in the U.K. collaborated on a deep learning model that can fill in missing text in ancient Green inscriptions.

However, when it comes to digitizing historical documents, there are concerns that algorithms can over-predict the historical significance of some documents and overlook others, leaving gaps in the historical record.

From Financial Times
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