The Ethics of AI-Assisted Historical Preservation: Finding the Balance Between Innovation and Authenticity

A.W. Tozer, one of the most influential Christian writers of the 20th century, passed away in 1963. While his written works continue to inspire readers to this day, there are only a handful of photographs of him in existence, and most are of poor quality. As someone with a passion for history and new technology, I wanted to see if I could use AI to restore the quality of some of Tozer’s old photographs.

Using image upscaling with Codeformers and a variety of other techniques, I was able to breathe new life into some of the existing photos of Tozer. Not only did these techniques improve the resolution and clarity of the images, but I was also able to create new images by mashing together different photos and styles while maintaining the same pose and features. The end result was a set of images that provided a clearer picture of what Tozer looked like in real life.

However, as I worked on this project, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of ambivalence about the role of AI in historical preservation. On the one hand, the ability to use AI to reconstruct lost images is a powerful tool for historians and researchers. It allows us to imagine what historical figures may have looked like in greater detail, and it can help us gain a deeper understanding of their lives and contributions.

On the other hand, there is a risk that over-reliance on AI could lead to a distortion of history. With the ability to create countless new images in a matter of hours based on just a few originals, we could end up with a situation where our understanding of a historical figure’s appearance is based more on approximations than on reality. It’s possible that over time, the original images could become lost or forgotten, and we could end up with a distorted view of history.

As Christians, it’s important to keep a biblical perspective on technology and the role it plays in our lives. While some may be fearful of the potential dangers of AI, it’s important to remember that our ultimate hope is in Christ. Even if AI were to run amok, we can trust that ultimately it too will simply be another enemy for Christ to put under His feet.

So, as I continue to work on this project, I do so with a sense of both excitement and caution. I’m excited about the possibilities that AI brings for historical restoration and preservation, but I’m also cautious about the potential risks. As always, it’s important to proceed with wisdom and discernment in all that we do.

Please tell me your thoughts! I’d love to hear some feedback, or if you have any questions don’t be shy!

If you have some old photos and are interested in getting them restored feel free to reach out to me for a quote at
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Teresa Kunschik
Teresa Kunschik
1 year ago

So very interesting it’s quite phenomenal & it is good -God has allowed us the ability to use technology to deepen our understanding & appreciation for history -“All GOOD things come down from the Father of Lights” -Press on in the wisdom & discernment of truth!

Tim Hodge
1 year ago

AI will definitely be used. It represents power. The one who achieves this will use it to gain world power. The Apple has a bite out of it as its logo. An article said it means lust power anarchy. Then Bill Gates saves it in 97 from bankruptcy bringing in AI technology. He wants AI in everything. He has to be a type of false prophet.

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