Mysterious 15th-Century ‘Alien’ Voynich Manuscript Finally Decoded Using Artificial Intelligence

Yale University Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Computer science experts at the University of Alberta have reportedly cracked the code of the mysterious Voynich manuscript using the power of artificial intelligence. The manuscript, which has been dated to the early 15th century, has baffled language experts and scientists for decades with its strange drawings and unintelligible lines of text. Experts, including professional cryptographers and codebreakers from World War I and World War II, have attempted to decipher the mysterious illustrated codex, but none of them have come close to understanding its content.

Due to its incomprehensible text and drawings, several theories have been proposed, which include the far-out theory that the book may have been written by a lost ancient civilization with the help of extraterrestrials. In 2014, researchers also argued that understanding the strange drawings may be the key to decoding the manuscript’s strange characters. A self-proclaimed “Prophet of God” had even claimed that he was able to decipher the book at one point and revealed that it may be a herbological tome used to keep track of medicinal plants.

Now, scientists at the University of Alberta may soon put those theories to rest as they have reportedly identified the language that was used in writing the manuscript. According to computer science Professor Grzegorz Kondrak, through his published research on the Association for Computational Linguistics website, the language that was used to write the manuscript is apparently an old form of Hebrew.

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Kondrak, along with graduate student Bradley Hauer, utilized an advanced form of artificial intelligence to find patterns in the text in conjunction with language translations from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is currently the world’s most translated document with over 370 different translations in different languages and dialects.

Identifying the language is, of course, only the first step as the scientists will have to decipher the Alphagram code used to encrypt the text. Kondrak and Hauer have claimed that they have decoded the first part of the text, which they ran through Google Translate. The first sentence actually made sense and talked about a priest giving recommendations to a woman, a man, and the people. According to the scientists, they will still need the help of an ancient Hebrew linguist and history experts to decipher the full meaning of the text.