The Secrets of the Ancient World, Unlocked

Is this the start of true global multiplayer?

In today’s email:

  • 🔥 Alibaba released Qwen's latest open-source work, Qwen1.5

  • 🤑 ChatGPT saved me $250

  • 📚 Tutorial: Publish AI-Generated Podcasts with Graphlit, GPT-4 and ElevenLabs

  • 🧰 10 new AI-powered tools and resources. Make sure to check the online version for the full list of tools.

Top News

Almost 2,000 years ago, a volcano preserved Herculaneum’s vast library of scrolls but left them unreadable. A volunteer army of nerds has been racing to decipher them.

Nat Friedman, a former CEO of GitHub, and a global community of enthusiasts and experts launched a project last year in an effort to decode the Herculaneum papyri, ancient scrolls that were preserved but charred by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. These scrolls are believed to contain a vast array of ancient Greek and Roman texts, potentially offering new insights into ancient literature, philosophy, and possibly early Christianity. Despite their historical value, the scrolls have been largely unreadable due to damage from the eruption.

Recent advances in 3D scanning and artificial intelligence have opened new possibilities for reading these scrolls without physically unrolling them, which could lead to damage. Friedman launched the Vesuvius Challenge, offering $1 million in prizes for developing AI software capable of deciphering text from the scrolls. The competition attracted participants worldwide, leading to breakthroughs in reading the scrolls' content. A team consisting of Luke Farritor, Youssef Nader, and Julian Schilliger eventually won the grand prize by successfully identifying and transcribing passages from the scrolls, indicating a work by Philodemus on the pleasures of music and food.

The article highlights the potential for more discoveries within the Herculaneum scrolls and the ongoing efforts to refine the technology for reading them, emphasizing the significant historical impact such findings could have. It also touches on the challenges of excavating more scrolls due to modern settlements atop the ancient site.

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Qwen1.5 is the latest update in the Qwen series, introduced just before the Chinese New Year, featuring base and chat models across six sizes (0.5B, 1.8B, 4B, 7B, 14B, and 72B) and including quantized models for optimized deployment. This version is integrated into Hugging Face transformers, enabling easier access for developers without requiring custom code.

Qwen1.5 introduces significant improvements in language understanding, coding, reasoning, and multilingual capabilities, supporting a context length of up to 32768 tokens. Performance evaluations show Qwen1.5 models outperforming previous models across various benchmarks. Additionally, the update focuses on aligning chat models with human preferences through techniques like Direct Policy Optimization and Proximal Policy Optimization. Qwen1.5 also enhances multilingual support, long-context understanding, and capabilities for connecting with external systems, including Retrieval-Augmented Generation and tool use.

For developers, Qwen1.5 is made accessible and deployable through various frameworks and platforms, emphasizing ease of use and integration into existing workflows. This release aims to provide both high-quality models and an improved developer experience for research and application purposes.

Roblox is introducing a new AI translation tool for its users worldwide, enabling instant real-time chat translations across different languages. This service, built on a custom AI language model, supports 16 languages and operates within the TextChatService. It allows users to communicate effortlessly, with messages being translated into the viewer's native language in real time.

Roblox, which has over 70 million daily users and exchanges 2.4 billion messages daily across 180 countries, aims to enhance global interaction, especially since a significant portion of its users communicate across language barriers. The translation AI leverages linguistic similarities between languages for faster processing and is trained on open-source data, human-labeled translations, and common Roblox chat phrases.

Looking ahead, Roblox plans to extend this translation capability to other interface aspects and even introduce AI-powered voice translation, aiming to offer a fully localized user experience.

Other stuff

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