Elon Musk’s Musk Foundation will support the Vesuvius Challenge, a project that aims to recover ancient texts.
The Vesuvius Challenge is a project attempting to recover a 2,000-year-old collection of scrolls called the Herculaneum Papyri. The collection of papyrus scrolls is the most extensive surviving library from the Greco-Roman world.
Recently, YoussefNader, Julian Schilliger, and Luke Farritor won the Vesuvius Challenge’s grand prize of $700,000 after deciphering fifteen columns of a single scroll from the collection. The Vesuvius Challenge is starting again this year with a new grand prize of $100,000. Elon Musk stated that his Musk Foundation would support the Vesuvius Challenge’s next round.
Musk Foundation will support this— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 7, 2024
Elon Musk’s involvement in the project may seem out of left field. However, the Vesuvius Challenge falls right into Musk’s interests. People like YoussefNader, Julian Schilliger, and Luke Farritor use artificial intelligence (AI) to decipher the ancient texts. Musk is one of the loudest voices in the AI development sphere.
Karl Weber and his team excavated some of the Herculaneum Papyri scrolls from the Villa of the Papyri. The scrolls were discovered in an Italian countryside villa, which was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius—the same one that hit Pompeii. According to Bloomberg, 800 Herculaneum Papyri scrolls have been recovered from the villa, but historians believe there could be thousands or tens of thousands more.