The Voynich manuscript is famous for being indecipherable. The 240-page text is written in an unknown language, in an unknown script, scrambled by an unknown code, as CTVNews put it. It's a puzzle with no way in. Even the Bletchley Park cryptographers, renowned for cracking the Enigma code used by the Nazis during World War II, couldn't make any headway.Supposedly "carbon dating" places the manuscript in the early fifteenth century. But carbon dating would be pretty imprecise for such a recent manuscript. In any case, this is what the AI came up with:
Now, Greg Kondrak, a computer scientist in the AI lab at the University of Alberta—the same one behind the DeepStack system that made waves last year by beating professional poker players—claims he's begun to crack it open.
Step number one, Kondrak told CTVNews, was figuring out what the language is. The statistical algorithms he and his co-author designed proved about 97-percent accurate when translating the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (into 380 languages). The same process, applied to the Voynich manuscript, suggested the language was Hebrew. As for the code, they believe that it involves the letters in each individual word being shuffled, and their vowels dropped.The speculation is that the text deals with "women's health," partly, I guess, from the supposedly decoded text, and partly because of the many illustrations of naked women bathing.
According to their algorithms, the manuscript's first complete sentence reads, "She made recommendations to the priest, man of the house and me and people." They also believe the text includes the words "farmer," "light," "air" and "fire," according to CTVNews.
We'll see. I am skeptical, but let's keep an eye on the story.
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