Can AI decode an Indus script?

Technology, meet history. History, meet future.

An ancient language has defied decryption for 100 years. Can AI crack the code? - Rest of World

Here’s a TLDR version:

  1. The Indus script is a complex writing system used by the Indus Valley Civilization, but its meaning and purpose are still not fully understood by scholars. Deciphering the Indus script has been a challenging task that has occupied scholars for decades, with no clear breakthroughs in sight.
  2. A team of researchers has developed an AI model called Indus-Translation, which aims to provide a new way to approach the challenge of understanding the Indus script.
  3. Indus-Translation is a complex and sophisticated tool that uses machine learning algorithms to analyze patterns in the Indus script and make educated guesses about the meaning of the inscriptions. The team found that the translations produced by Indus-Translation were generally accurate and reliable, with few errors or inconsistencies.
  4. However, the translations were also nuanced and complex, reflecting the fact that the Indus script is a rich and multifaceted system that may have multiple layers of meaning.
  5. The ultimate goal of deciphering the Indus script is to gain a better understanding of the Indus Valley Civilization and its place in world history, but this will likely require many more years of research and collaboration between scholars from different disciplines.


Here’s an excerpt of a book excerpt from the book The World: A Family History of Humanity (Goodreads) by Simon Sebag Montefiore.

This historical snapshot of Mughal emperor Shahjahan’s fall and Aurangzeb’s ascent shows how the most hardworking yet cunning and zealot leaders can lay havoc on a family and on a country.

This micromanaging puritan tried to limit sensuality, banning women from wearing tight trousers and, in Kashmir, ordering people to wear drawers instead of nothing. As his court became more rigorous and orderly, he lectured his son Azzam, ‘Fear the sighs of the oppressed,’ and warned his vizier, ‘Oppression will cause darkness on Judgement Day.’ Alamgir was probably the hardest-working ruler in Indian history, barely sleeping, poring over his paperwork: ‘I was sent into the world by providence to live and labour, not for myself but for others.’ Often reflecting on power, he was a Machiavellian – ‘One can’t rule without deception’ – and violent. ‘The greatest conquerors,’ he claimed, ‘aren’t the greatest kings,’ but this scion of Tamerlane lived for conquest: ‘When you have an enemy to destroy, spare nothing, anything is permissible . . . that can deliver success.’