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AI decodes ancient Roman scrolls lost to volcano

ALSO: The biggest deals in AI this week

Read time: under 4 minutes

Welcome back, Superhuman

How time flies. Facebook turned 20 this week. Almost 4 out of 10 humans alive today use the blue and white app, with total user numbers crossing 3 billion last year. We’ve come a long way from the days of poking our friends and tagging their pictures.


  • AI unlocks the door to ancient mysteries, as 2,000 year-old scrolls decoded

  • How to convert articles and documents into short videos with ChatGPT

  • Chart: IBM leads the AI patent race

  • The biggest funding deals in AI this week

  • 5 new AI tools to boost your productivity

  • AI Generated Images: NYC penthouses in a kitschy style

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Today in AI & Tech

Source: Starship Technologies

Drone Fleet: Autonomous delivery company Starship Technologies passes 6 million sidewalk robot deliveries (pictured above) and announce $90 million in new funding.

New Dangers: Journalist Joseph Fox claims to have exposed an underground fake ID site that uses AI, saying he generated a fake passport using the website to bypass online security verification.

Big Moves: AI image generation company Midjourney has reportedly hired an engineer from Apple to lead its hardware division, potentially signalling plans for a new device.

Watchful Eye: Facebook owner Meta’s independent Oversight Board urges the company to reconsider its content policy, as AI-generated deepfake videos make their way to its apps ahead of the 2024 election.

Safe Dating: Popular dating app Bumble announce they have a new AI tool that identifies and blocks fake profiles.


AI unlocks the door to ancient mysteries, as 2,000 year-old Roman scrolls decoded

Source: Vesuvius Challenge

A centuries-old secret lost to volcanic ashes has been rediscovered with the help of AI. After former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman’s family home burned down in California fires a few years ago, a fascinating idea took hold in his mind: could the AI algorithms similar to those being developed at GitHub be used to decode ancient Roman scrolls damaged by volcanic ash?

Known as the Herculaneum papyri, the artifacts are a collection of scrolls that were buried inside an Italian villa by the same volcanic eruption that destroyed the city of Pompeii in 79 A.D. The scrolls were preserved under the debris of the volcanic eruption but were left unreadable due to the charring.

Fast forward some 2,000 years, Friedman blended his love of the scrolls with his knowledge of AI and launched the Vesuvius Challenge in early 2023, a competition in which people around the world competed to decode the ancient Herculaneum papyri.

And after ten long months of presumably very hard competing, an overjoyed Friedman announced yesterday that the project had succeeded. Fifteen columns from a scroll had been deciphered with the help of AI, containing in them text from a philosopher who writes about music, food, and how to enjoy life's pleasures.

The findings mark a major technological milestone, as potentially thousands of other scrolls and ancient artifacts around the world from various time periods could become readable thanks to the breakthrough. Friedman intends to continue the prize and extend its mission to decoding the rest of the scrolls.


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How to convert articles and documents into short videos with ChatGPT

  • Log into your ChatGPT account.

  • Click here to access the Pictory GPT for videos in ChatGPT.

  • Insert a link to your blog, article, or other similar document and ask it to generate videos.

  • Give it the required information. (It will ask for the audience and the platform on which the video will be uploaded)

  • Wait for a few seconds and you’ll get a short video.

  • You can instruct it to add more details as per your requirements.

For the example above, I used a Thailand travel blog link to create a video.

Prompt: [insert URL or text]
Convert this [document type] into a video
My audience includes [insert your audience] and I will post the video on [insert platform]

You can also use it to create videos by giving it a written script or describing what you want in a prompt. If it can’t access the link, you can also try to copy paste the text from the link or document as a prompt.


IBM is leading the race for AI patents

Source: IFI Insights

Patent services firm IFI Claims recently released a report on patent activity in the Generative AI space. According to IFI’s research, both the number of patent applications related to generative AI, as well as the number of patent grants have been increasing rapidly in recent years. The report claims that IBM currently leads the pack with over 1,500 generative AI patent applications.

Patents help tech companies protect their innovations by granting them exclusive rights to their inventions for a certain period.


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The biggest deals in AI this week

Source: Getty Images

  • The UK is investing over 100 million pounds ($125 million) to launch 9 new AI research hubs and train regulators on the technology.

  • Krutrim became India's first AI startup to reach unicorn status with a $50M funding round.

  • Anomalo, which uses AI to detect data quality issues, raised $33M in Series B funding.

  • Jua secured $16M to develop a foundational AI model for the natural world, starting with weather forecasting for the energy sector.

  • Sema4.ai, an AI tools provider for businesses, raised $30.5M from investors.


5 AI Tools to Supercharge Your Productivity

Grammarly AI: Accelerate your writing process. Compose, ideate, rewrite, and reply with AI that understands your communication context and goals.

Quartzite: A prompt IDE to easily write complex prompts, iterate, and compare quality of outputs.

Guidde*: Magically create video documentation with AI.

Supadash: Connect your database and instantly get AI-generated charts to visualize your data and track metrics about your application.

Descript: Your all-in-one content companion to write, record, transcribe, edit, collaborate, and share your videos and podcasts.

* indicates a promoted tool, if any


NYC penthouses in a kitschy style

Source: u/Agentcooper1974 on Reddit

prompt: a photo of a [Insert place] in a nyc penthouse designed in a kitsch style. - stylize 250 --v 6

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