Canadian Scientist Enlist the Help of AI to Help Decode the Voynich Manuscript
Can an AI decipher the mysteries of the manuscript ?
Scientists at the University of Alberta have applied artificial intelligence to the long-running mystery.
The enigmatic codex, which was first discovered in an Italian monastery by book dealer Wilfrid Voynich back in 1912, contains 240 pages of strange, indecipherable characters and images.
Written on fine calfskin parchment, the book has been dated back to the 15th century, however the meaning of its strange language and accompanying illustrations has long remained a mystery.
Now though, new clues have been discovered thanks to computing science professor Greg Kondrak and graduate student Bradley Hauer who have used the famous manuscript as a case study in their research involving the use of artificial intelligence to decode ambiguities in human language.
The process, which involved using samples of 400 different languages from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, revealed that the mysterious manuscript is most likely written in Hebrew.
“That was surprising,” said Kondrak.
The two researchers concluded that the manuscript’s text had been created using alphagrams (which define one phrase with another) and set about developing an algorithm to decipher it.
The results, when combined with Google Translate, were quite promising.
“It came up with a sentence that is grammatical, and you can interpret it,” said Kondrak. “‘She made recommendations to the priest, man of the house and me and people.'”
“It’s a kind of strange sentence to start a manuscript but it definitely makes sense.”
Image Credit: PD