15th-century manuscript with’alien’ characters finally decoded

人工智能太强大,古手稿破译不在话下

导读:近日,来自加拿大阿尔伯塔大学的几位科学家使用人工智能算法来帮助破解著名的伏尼契手稿,并取得了重大进展。

Scientists have harnessed the power of artificial intelligence to unlock the secrets of an ancient manuscript that has baffled experts.

科学家借助人工智能的力量破译一份古代手稿,这份手稿一直困扰着各位专家。

Discovered in the 19th century, the Voynich manuscript uses “alien” characters that have long puzzled cryptographers and historians. Now, however, computing scientists at the University of Alberta say they are decoding the mysterious 15th-century text.

伏尼契手稿发现于19世纪,长期以来密码学家和历史学家对这份手稿中使用的“外星”文字毫无头绪。然而如今,阿尔伯塔大学的几位计算科学家表示他们正在破解这份15世纪的神秘手稿。

Computing science Professor Greg Kondrak and graduate student Bradley Hauer applied artificial intelligence to find ambiguities in the text’s human language.

计算科学专业教授格雷格·贡德拉克和毕业生布莱德利·豪尔运用人工智能技术来寻找手稿中人类语言的模糊之处。

The first stage of the research was working out the manuscript’s language. The experts used 400 different language translations from the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” to identify the language used in the text. Initially, it seemed like the text was written in Arabic, but the researcher’s algorithms revealed that the manuscript is written in Hebrew.

研究工作的第一步是确定手稿所用语言。专家们通过对《世界人权宣言》400种语言译本的比对确定了手稿所用语言。起初,手稿看上去是阿拉伯文,但是研究人员使用的算法表明手稿中的文字其实属于希伯来文。

“That was surprising,” said Kondrak, in a statement. “And just saying ‘this is Hebrew’ is the first step. The next step is how do we decipher it.”

“这使人感到惊讶” 贡德拉克在声明中表示“而指出‘这是希伯来文’只是第一步,下一步是如何破译这份手稿。”

Kondrak and Hauer worked out that Voynich manuscript was created using ‘alphagrams’ that use one phrase to define another so built an algorithm to unscramble the text. “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 Kondrak.

贡德拉克和豪尔确认伏尼契手稿的创造过程类似“alphagram”程序,通过某词组定义其他词组,于是二人搭建了一种算法来破译手稿。 贡德拉克说:“结果证明百分之八十的词汇可以在希伯来语词典中查到,但是把这些词放在一起是否说得通目前还不清楚。”

The initial part of the text was then run through Google Translate. “It came up with a sentence that is grammatical, and you can interpret it,” Kondrak explained.

破译手稿开头的工作使用了谷歌翻译。贡德拉克解释称:“开头的句子符合语法可以直接口译出来”。

The sentence was: “She made recommendations to the priest, man of the house and me and people.”

这句话的意思是:“她为牧师、族长、我和其他人进行推荐。”

The full meaning of the text will need the involvement of historians of ancient Hebrew. The vellum, or animal skin, on which the codex is written has been dated to the early 15th century.

破解所有文字的意思需要懂得古希伯来语的历史学家参与。书稿的材质属于牛皮或者其他动物皮,日期可追溯到15世纪早期。

The research study is published in Volume 4 of Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics.

研究结果发表在TCAL期刊(Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics)的第四期。

There have been multiple attempts to decode the Voynich manuscript. In 2014, for example, researchers argued that the illustrations of plants in the manuscript could help decode the text’s strange characters. In 2011, a self-proclaimed “prophet of God” claimed that he had decoded the book.

此前人们曾多次尝试破解伏尼契手稿。例如2014年,研究人员称了解手稿材料中包含哪些植物有助于破解其中的奇怪文字。2011年,一位自称“上帝先知”的人声称自己破解了伏尼契手稿。

来源:Fox News

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