Digital technologies are going to revive the archives of European museums and libraries. We are going to experience mirror worlds which are thought to be as important as the internet and social media
The past has sped up. Despite recent setbacks caused by COVID-19 which led to the suspension of the works of the Time Machine team, the detailed plan of launching the time machine to revive two thousand years of European history is said to be ready in June.
The idea of the Time Machine project is to imbibe the resources of many European museums and libraries by using artificial intelligence and by exploring big data sets. Plans include the creation of a gigantic simulator to transform the archival materials into a digital information system. The goal is to reconstruct the appearance of cities and monuments, even from the ancient past, in four dimensions (3D plus time). The use of artificial intelligence will allow to create the so-called mirror worlds, i.e. digital twin cities, which can be supplemented with new information and details. To admire the effect of works we will need either a smartphone or special augmented reality interfaces.
Plans include the creation of a gigantic simulator to transform the archival materials into a digital information system
“Used as new information platforms, mirror worlds will certainly become as important as the internet and social media are today. Our goal is to create the first European 4D mirror world within the next 10 years,” says Frédéric Kaplan, the head of the project. Time Machine is not only a project; more generally, it’s also an international association headquartered in Vienna. It is open to legal persons specializing in science, technology and cultural heritage.
The preparatory phase of the project, for which the European Union earmarked the amount of one million euros, took one year and was completed in February. The subsidy allowed to devise a ten-year strategy of mass digitization and consolidation of vast collections of European museums and libraries.
The Time Machine has involved over 500 institutions from 34 countries, with new participants joining the project on a regular basis. In the announcement summing up their achievements from the past 12 months the Time Machine initiators declared that they would develop the project both in individual countries and across the European Union. They are also planning to create platforms for scholarship programs, education, libraries, museums, archives and tourism.
A platform with a search engine to look for information about people and places from the past is to be ready by 2023
Digitization works are currently being conducted by over 20 “local time machines” for example in Amsterdam, Budapest, Antwerp, Jerusalem and Paris. A platform with a search engine to look for information about people and places from the past is to be ready by 2023. In 2018 the team showcased its prototype which allowed to search for historical manuscripts, process queries regarding iconographic materials and browse historical maps.
Capable of analyzing huge data sets, artificial intelligence is an invaluable tool in discovering unknown facts about the culture. Last year the AI-based system designed to read documents processed the information from several hundred thousand sources and identified over one thousand works of art the origin of which had been disputed. Similar large-scale research was done with respect to millions of European buildings.
The Time Machine team is about to finish their works on the Request for Comments publication platform, which is going to be the core of the whole project strategy.