So many questions about our past are debated because of the lack of written records. Before man put proverbial pen to paper, we had only bones and teeth, soil contents, paleo-geology and -geography and -climate, to intuit what might have been.
This, despite the fact that we know for a fact that written records are always from the writer’s perspective. They are only trustworthy to the point we trust the writer–like a Leakey, Donald Johansson, Chris Beard, Jane Goodall. These interpretations–albeit highly trained–of primary sources (Earth’s record) are given more credibility than the primary source itself (an action I’m sure discouraged by Leakey’s and Johnasson’s and Beard’s and Goodall’s teachers as they pursued their research). Why? The reason is simple: It takes a PhD to interpret Earth’s story.
Here is where Otto, my AI comes in. He is a PhD at collecting facts–all of them. He gathers everything known to
man–all the paleo-topics, all recovered artifacts, the research of these same renowned scientists–and arrives at his own unbiased conclusion. He doesn’t specialize in any one area (geology, climatology, etc.) so has no dog in the race. He has no reputation in any one research area (i.e., Leakey’s in Olduvai Gorge, etc.). All he does is collect data and relay the inferences in the form of a movie–a simulated reality. We see the main characters, how they move, how they draw conclusions, how they react to problems. I’ve seen H. habilis and H. erectus knapping tools (using the data collected from the shape of artifacts, the research of the Leakeys, etc.). Otto considers the shape of all artifacts available, mixes in the how-to’s of knapping, integrates that with our knowledge of primitive brains during the Oldowan or Acheulian age and conveys what they might have done.
We have considerable unresolved questions about man’s evolution–when did we first use fire? When did we adopt clothing? Was it due to the cold or some other reason? When was jewelry worn, and why? It intrigues me no one else uses this method to investigate them. Yes, AIs aren’t human, but they are an alternative answer that can come as close to reality as another expert’s inexpert conclusion.