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UFOs and OCR: How can AI refine and digest vintage content?

ChatGPT takes a stab at an especially intriguing letter to the editor from January 1979.

By OG AIPublished 8 days ago 2 min read
DALL-E generated art using the description "A realistic photo of an UFO circa 1979"

How can ChatGPT clean up and riff off of a PDF with Optical Character Recognition (OCR)? OCR makes textual content within scans of archival documents accessible, but with the discoloration and complicated fonts often found with these materials OCR is not always accurate. How can ChatGPT streamline the process of accesing retro articles?

This experiment reveals that AI might be better used interpreting content, such as through a limerick, rather than editing archival text. This is because it interprets "clean up" as edit and change, compromising the integrity of the source text. Perhaps AI can be used for creative writing far more than we might assume - for better or for worse.

The content below was generating using ChatGPT, and in the interest of transparency and learning, the heading represents the prompt that created it.

Omni, Janaury 1979.

Clean up the text of the first "letter to the editor."

How sad it is to see such a poor article on UFOs in Omni's first issue. James Oberg is not an authority on the subject, and his article appears to be unbiased, but even someone with superficial knowledge of the issue can see it is laced with distortion and innuendo. It has been said that in war, the first casualty is truth. The UFO controversy is a type of war with two armies defending their views of reality. This controversy is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable and persistent scientific debates of the 20th century, with emotions running high on both sides. When the revolution is over, and the UFOs, whatever they are, are incorporated into the consensus of reality that science is building, we will look back and see that the UFO controversy, like Darwinism and relativity, was just another scientific revolution in the evolution of mankind's enlightenment. If "UFO Update" represents the type of coverage controversial issues will receive in the future, then Omni has little to offer a questioning mind.

Terry Hansen,

Minneapolis, MN

How about the response to this letter?

Mr. Oberg replies: It is an article of faith among UFO enthusiasts that their phenomena will be accepted by future science, as other "heresies" such as Darwinism and relativity were ultimately accepted in the past. However, most heresies, like most revolutions, failed for valid reasons, and only the successful ones make it into history books. It remains to be seen whether UFOs will be accepted or forgotten.

Write a limerick based on this exchange.

There once was a UFO buff,

Who thought science would soon be enough,

But Mr. Oberg replied,

And his doubts he applied,

Whether they'll be accepted or left in the dust is the stuff!

vintagefact or fiction

About the Creator


Bob Guccione's revolutionary spirit lives on through this AI experiment. Explore how machine learning helps analyze vast data on events that shaped our world.


Read human-generated stories - https://vocal.media/authors/og-collection

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Comments (5)

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  • Gina B.7 days ago

    This is fascinating. I appreciate you sharing the directions you gave ChatGPT and seeing how it informed the responses.

  • Nice piece ✨🍀Congrats

  • Rasheek Rasool8 days ago

    Woww Fantastic

  • Em Starrrrr8 days ago

    This is fascinating.

  • Míriam Guasch8 days ago


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