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How the Secrets of Ancient Cuneiform Texts Are Being Revealed by AI

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Thanks to developments in artificial intelligence, computers are being trained to read and translate cuneiform, to put fragmented tablets back together to recreate ancient libraries and even predict bits of missing text.

Credit: Chris Malbon

Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used to read and translate cuneiform, helping to recreate ancient libraries by piecing together fragmented tablets and predicting missing text.

The Fragmentarium, part of the Electronic Babylonian Literature project set up by Enrique Jiménez of Germany's Ludwig Maximilians University in 2018, is using algorithms to determine which tablet fragments belong together.

The AI can predict missing segments and search for cuneiform signs in a database of fragments.

As part of the project, 40,000 smashed tablet pieces at the British Museum in London are being photographed, and software is being used to stitch the images together so cuneiform experts can translate them.

The entire collection of images will be made public by next year.

From New Scientist
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