The Voynich Manuscript, a 15th Century manuscript, is one of the world’s biggest and most famous challenges for cryptographers. Known for its cryptic sentences and diagrams written in an indecipherable language, the manuscript has stumped professionals and amateurs for centuries. In a major breakthrough, researchers from University of Alberta, Canada have used artificial intelligence (AI) to decipher the manuscript, potentially opening up its secrets for the world. #machinemagic
Researchers used algorithmic decipherment to see any portion of the text could be translated. Comparing the text to samples of over 380 languages, the AI established Hebrew as the most probable origin language: “It turned out that over 80 per cent of the words were in a Hebrew dictionary, but we didn’t know if they made sense together,” said computational linguist Greg Kondrak. Examples of translated words include “farmer”, “light”, “air”, and “fire”, which seem to align with the book’s botanical focus and drawings of various plant species.
While the prospect of deciphering the Voynich Manuscript is enticing, the team is aware that their findings need to be validated by historians to ensure accuracy of translation. This could lead to an interesting and exciting collaboration between human experts and AI.