Tuesday, 18 August 2020

ai claudius

Via Kottke—we are directed to the Roman Emperor Project of Daniel Voshart—Star Trek set designer—who has taken a dataset of over eight hundred sculptures and busts to seed a neural-network to create photo-realistic images of the fifty-four caesars of the Principate, the first period of the Roman Empire that began with the reign of Augustus and ended with the Crisis of the Third Century, which nearly led to its collapse buffeted by civil wars, invasions, economic depression, plague and political instability.
These early days of the Empire were no salad days to be sure but this period prior to the crisis is in contrast to the following one referred to as the Dominate or the despotic phase, beginning with the reign of Diocletian and the downfall of the West. The algorithm was guided and informed by written descriptions in the histories to take into account other physical characteristics in efforts not to flatter or romanticise but show diversity as well as the ravages of rule, age and indulgence. Here is our old friend Claudius, who was rather unexpectedly elevated to the role after his nephew Caligula was assassinated by a conspiracy between senators and the Praetorian Guard. Much more to explore at the links above.