Elon Musk says He’ll help fund AI effort to decipher Roman Scrolls
Nat Friedman’s Vesuvius Challenge gets a new financial backer.
Elon Musk will provide financial support to a project using artificial intelligence to digitally unfurl ancient scrolls that'd been unreadable for centuries.
Bloomberg Businessweek reported this week on a breakthrough in the project, which is known as the Vesuvius Challenge and run by Nat Friedman, the former chief executive officer of GitHub. A group of contestants successfully took scans of scrolls from the Roman town of Herculaneum, which had been charred by the volcanic eruption that buried Pompeii, and used AI to read entire paragraphs from them.
The Musk Foundation, the billionaire's charitable arm, will offer the funding, Musk wrote in a post to his social network X on Wednesday. In a message to Bloomberg, Musk said he didn't know how much he'll contribute. “Whatever amount is useful,” he wrote. “I'm in favor of civilizational enlightenment.”
Friedman said the next stage of the effort will enable the team to read entire scrolls and will cost about $2 million. Deciphering every scroll so far uncovered from Herculaneum could cost as much as $10 million, Friedman said.
“I was shocked and thrilled to see Elon tweet his support of the next stages of the Vesuvius Challenge, and we welcome any contribution he will make!” Friedman wrote in a message to Bloomberg. “All donations are extremely helpful. We're in touch with Elon's team and working out the details of their support.”
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