Historical discoveries become fewer and fewer as the years pass (though they will never stop, as history will never stop being made). There are still mysteries that have stumped scientists, treasure seekers, historians, puzzle masters, and your average citizen for centuries, the Voynich Manuscript being one of them.
This ancient book has been dated back to the early 1400s, and no one has really ever figured out what it was about, though some speculated that it was about women's health based on the number of images of naked women. But because it was written in an unknown language, in a never before seen script, with what appears to be a scrambled, unsolvable code, no one has ever really known for sure. That is, until now.
A computer scientist from the University of Alberta, in Canada, appears to have solved the mystery that has been stumping experts for decades. Greg Kondrak used his computer skills to potentially decipher the book, which by his translations starts with, "She made recommendations to the priest ..."
"The first step is to try and find out what the language is," said Kondrak.
The thought process was that a powerful artificial intelligence program would be able to help decipher the code. Considering Kondrak's department already had a program that could beat professional Texas Hold'em players, it was a strong possibility that appears to have paid off.
Even though he appears to have been successful in his translation, but Kondrak's breakthrough isn't being well received by traditional scholars who have tried to break the code.
"I don't think they are friendly to this kind of research," he said. "People may be fearing that the computers will replace them."
Even though this mystery may have been solved, there are still a huge number of ancient texts that have still not been translated, and Kondrak's program gives hope that we might finally gain access to that knowledge.
"One of our motivations was the ancient scripts. There are still ancient scripts that remain undeciphered to this day."
What do you think about using artificial intelligence to solve this ancient mysteries?