Recently I've read that machine learning has been used to apply the Comparative Method (example with references here). Also, there are other mathematical approaches that have been applied to the problem of reconstructing proto-languages. For example, this is a very interesting work where the researchers employ a probabilistic model of sound change to reconstruct parts of the proto-austronesian language.
My question, aimed at professional linguistics working on these fields, is: How relevant do you think are the computational/mathematical techniques in the fields of historical linguistics/language reconstruction? Are there interesting unsolved problems that could be (potentially) solved with these methods?
I am asking because I've also read some critics say that these methods have not brought anything new, only already known stuff, and all I know about the subjetc comes from mathematicians, physicists and computer scientists, but I have not heard much about it from linguists.