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Searching for Lost Knowledge in the Age of Intelligent Machines

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Fascinating and fun piece from Adrienne Lafrance in the The Atlantic.

But the divers had dredged up something even more precious. They wouldn’t realize it until nearly a year later, when museum curators peered into a forgotten crate in an Athens courtyard and began to examine the hunk of oxidized metal inside.

The corroded device still bore faded inscriptions and it appeared to have the guts of a clock, mechanics that didn’t make any sense. After all, the lump had been found among the wreckage of a ship that sailed the Mediterranean more than 1,000 years before timekeeping gearwork first appeared in Medieval Europe. When the ship went down, no one on the planet was supposed to have had complex scientific instruments—what was this thing?

Read more.


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