François Chollet @fchollet Deep learning @google. Creator of Keras, neural networks library. Author of 'Deep Learning with Python'. Opinions are my own. Apr. 16, 2019 1 min read

We will rebuild -- but it will take decades.

I'm from Nantes, a city with a beautiful medieval cathedral. Its roof was entirely destroyed in a fire in 1972, in very similar circumstances. It took 40 years to rebuild.

The good news is that nothing truly irreplaceable was lost. Cathedrals get perpetually rebuilt as part of their regular lifecycle - like the ship of Theseus. The spire that fell was a 1860 addition by Viollet-le-Duc.

It's normally meant to be a more incremental process though...

Fun fact: when it comes to the Nantes cathedral, the 1972 fire that destroyed the roof was started by a roofer with a blowtorch, working on the finishing touches of restoration work that was addressing damage from... the 1944 allied bombings. Work is never over.

It took 13 years to rebuild the roof itself, but the complete restoration work only ended in 2008.


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