Google has launched its latest online tool that utilizes Artificial Intelligence to decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Last week, the multinational tech company announced the birth of their machine learning tool that will pave the way for experts to decode their studies much faster with just a click of the upload button.
Officially named "Fabricius," the new translator is also available for anyone who is interested in learning more about Egyptian hieroglyphics in a fun and interactive way. One can type in messages and get instant hieroglyphic scripts and images that can be shared on social media platforms. Users can also draw their own hieroglyphics and find out if Google's machine learning technology can identify it to the closest hieroglyphic images and scripts from its 800+ image database.
Google Arts and Culture programme manager Chance Coughenour proudly disclosed that the launch of Fabricius was set in line to mark the day the Rosetta Stone was discovered 4,000 years ago. The Rosetta Stone is the key that unlocked the mysterious writing system that was first used by ancient Egyptians. Fabricius on the other hand, can be accessed and enjoyed through three gateways which bring users to discover the mysteries of hieroglyphics through "Learn," "Play" and "Work." Not only does it boast of translating features but also provides the user with avenues for academic research.
Google says their new machine learning tool aims to bring more light and understanding to Egyptian heritage and emphasise the importance of preserving the language. All it takes to understand hieroglyphics is to apply how our current social media culture uses emojis as a means to relay coded messages.
Experts who brought this digital tool to life in the technical universe literally had to dig through mountains of books to decipher the language just the way it has been done for over a century.
Back in the day, recording and processing all this information would take a team of data researchers and scientists coupled with a lot of codes to process hieroglyphs into digital form. But thanks to Google Cloud's AutoML technology and AutoML Vision, these programmes have given developers the technical edge that equips a machine to recognise a vast selection of images.
Although its "Play" translation option is not as academically accurate, it does provide a rough translation of messages that can be used for fun and allows for mobile and social media app sharing.
Its "Work" feature is designed for academics and researchers to help them with hieroglyphics translations. It runs on a desktop only workbench and requires more in-depth knowledge and understanding of proper hieroglyphic translation.
Fabricius will be released as open source and will be available in both English and Arabic language in support of further research and progress in the study of ancient languages.