On July 15, 1799, Pierre-François Bouchard discovered the Rosetta stone, a 760-kilogram stone that, in a nutshell, is an Egyptian hieroglyphic-Demotic-Greek ancient translator. It was one of the keys to deciphering, a priori, incomprehensible Egyptian hieroglyphs. The stone is now on display in the British Museum in London and is not necessary to understand what the ancient Egyptians wanted to tell us. In fact, Google has an artificial intelligence capable of doing it on its own.
This is Fabricius, a new tool integrated within Google Arts & Culture that, according to Google, is capable of identify a thousand hieroglyphs thanks to a neural network. The idea of Google is not only to help users to know more about this writing system, but to let us translate our own text into these curious symbols. Without further ado, let’s see what it offers.
The first step in understanding hieroglyphs was creating exact copies of them by drawing them. It is what is known as a facsimile (imitation or exact reproduction of a book, writing, drawing, signature, etc.). From Google explain that, since many hieroglyphs are very similar, researchers must draw them as accurately as possible in order to translate them later.
On the Fabricius website there is a small minigame that allows us to draw our own hieroglyphs and check if the Google model is capable of recognizing them. Throughout it, Google explains curious facts about hieroglyphs and, in addition, allows know the meaning of some, something useful for the final phase of the minigame.
That said, with the tool you can do two things. The first, more for professionals, is to upload one. It is completely free.
The second is to write our own text and get the translation in hieroglyphs. From Google they warn that it is a fun tool and that the translations may not be totally accurate. It only works in English and Arabic. If we write “welcome baby!”, For example, the system will return a good handful of hieroglyphs that, really, mean “baby in the arms of a mother”. If we hover over the hieroglyphs, Google will tell us what words each symbol / s refers to.
The words of Dr. Roland Enmarch, a full professor of Egyptology at the University of Liverpool, are echoed on the BBC. This ensures that this entire AI