Wednesday 15 July 2020

Got Hieroglyphics? Now Read What they say

Here's good news for all those collectors with ripped off bits of antiquities and monuments, Google has launched a hieroglyphics translator that uses machine learning to decode ancient Egyptian language. It is currently available in English and Arabic (Cristina Criddle, 'Google launches hieroglyphics translator powered by AI', BBC  15 July 2020). The tool will also be of great use to dealers and fakers:
Google says Fabricius is the first such tool to be trained via machine learning "to make sense of what a hieroglyph is". In theory, it should improve over time as more people use it.  A desktop version of Fabricius is also being offered to professional Egyptologists, anthropologists and historians, to support their research. One expert welcomed the initiative but said its "grand claims" needed to be viewed in context. "While impressive, it is not yet at the point where it replaces the need for a highly trained expert in reading ancient inscriptions," said Dr Roland Enmarch, a senior lecturer in Egyptology, at the University of Liverpool. 
 The software's launch coincides with the anniversary of the discovery of the Rosetta stone, which first enabled experts to learn to read Egyptian hieroglyphs.

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