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Vatican Secret Archives deciphered with artificial intelligence

In 1633, Galileo Galilei was charged with heresy for claiming that Earth orbits the sun. A transcript of his trial is safely tucked away in the Vatican Secret Archives, along with thousands of other documents dating back to the eighth century. But it’s hard for scholars to search through them without reading every word. To remedy that, researchers figured out how to digitize handwritten Latin text into a computer-readable format, The Atlantic reports. Classics scholars and high school students helped train a machine learning program, and then the program took it from there, transcribing several pages from the archives, the researchers report in a preprint posted to arXiv. The new technique could open up archives—not just at the Vatican, but worldwide—to more research.

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