An AI Finally Translated the Ancient 'Alien' Voynich Manuscript

Monday, 29 January 2018 - 10:00AM
Alien Life
Monday, 29 January 2018 - 10:00AM
An AI Finally Translated the Ancient 'Alien' Voynich Manuscript
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Image credit: YouTube

The mysterious and indecipherable text contained in the 15th-century Voynich manuscript has baffled experts for over two centuries. The UFO community has claimed that the 240-page medieval book tells of a highly advanced, ancient extraterrestrial civilization based on the fact that there has been no headway in figuring out who, or what, could have possibly written in the unknown language.



Now Computer scientists at the University of Alberta think they've finally cracked the Voynich code using AI algorithms. The study, led by computing science professor Greg Kondrak and grad student Bradley Hauer, first had to figure out the origin language before beginning to tackle it by cross referencing the text with the 400 languages contained in the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights."



"We use human language to communicate with other humans, but computers don't understand this language, because it's designed for people," Kondrak said. There are so many ambiguous meanings that we don't even realize. Natural language processing helps computers make sense of human language. Not only do we want to talk to computers in our language because it's easier and more convenient, but also there is a lot of information that exists in the form of written word. Take the internet, for example."



They then modeled the words as alphagrams, defining a word's alphagram distance with respect to an ordering of the alphabet as the number of letter pairs in the wrong place.  "For example, with respect to the QWERTY keyboard order, the word rye has an alphagram distance of 2 because it contains two letter pairs that violate the order: (r, e) and (y, e)," reads the study. "A word is an alphagram if and only if its alphagram distance is zero. The maximum alphagram distance for a word of length n is equal to the number of its distinct letter pairs."



Using this process, they eventually determined that the text patterns in the opening sentences of the manuscript were analogous to ancient Hebrew, or a closely related abjad script. Running the translation through Google Translate, they determined that the manuscript's first sentence reads: 'She made recommendations to the priest, man of the house and me and people.' "



"We have presented a multi-stage system for solving ciphers that combine monoalphabetic letter substitution and unconstrained intra-word letter transposition to encode messages in an unknown language," the study concludes. "We have evaluated three methods of ciphertext language identification that are based on letter frequency, decomposition patterns, and trial decipherment, respectively. We have demonstrated that our language-independent approach can effectively break anagrammed substitution ciphers, even when vowels are removed from the input. The application of our methods to the Voynich manuscript suggests that it may represent Hebrew, or another abjad script, with the letters rearranged to follow a fixed order."



Though you may be crestfallen to learn that the manuscript likely didn't come from visitors, a much newer book shows what it claims are the first photos ever taken from inside a UFO. In other ancient book developments, scientists also digitally reconstructed the ancient En Gedi scrolls.

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