Cuneiform from Mesopotamia will be deciphered using artificial intelligence
Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed an artificial intelligence system capable of deciphering a dead language. It is planned to be used to study 4500-year-old Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets, New Scientist reports.
The system was trained in 104 languages. Then it was loaded with transcriptions of 10 thousand tablets created in the period from 2500 BC. NS. and 100 A.D. NS. The experiment showed that artificial intelligence is able not only to translate characters, but also to recover missing words and even phrases.
Mesopotamia is one of the oldest known civilizations in the world, giving rise to the Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian empires. She was on the territory of modern Iraq, capturing parts of Iran, Turkey, Syria and Kuwait.
Mesopotamia is considered the birthplace of mathematics, astronomy, agriculture, written history, and many other disciplines. Several civilizations, including the Babylonians and Assyrians, spoke Akkadian, the oldest known Semitic language. Cuneiform was used to write texts.
“These tablets are the main documents of Mesopotamian cultures, including religious texts, bureaucratic records, royal decrees and more,” – noted the authors of the scientific work.
But for more than four thousand years, many tablets have fallen into disrepair, and the symbols on them have been erased. Artificial intelligence has helped solve this problem. At first, scientists tested it on completely preserved texts, covering part of the words. The system restored them with an accuracy of 89%.
Scientists emphasized that technology is an auxiliary tool and cannot completely replace human experts. Thus, archaeologists can widely assess the context, knowing where the tablet was excavated, in what period it was created and what situation reigned then in the region. But artificial intelligence helped them to look at many documents in a new way, providing information that was previously inaccessible.
Earlier it was reported that artificial intelligence read ancient Hebrew writings. They were found during excavations in the Negev desert.