[ExI] Semiotics and Computability

Gordon Swobe gts_2000 at yahoo.com
Fri Feb 19 00:54:45 UTC 2010

--- On Thu, 2/18/10, Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:

> There exists hundreds antiquity language writings, many of
> which have not been deciphered yet. 

I found this account of the deciphering of the Rosetta Stone on wikipedia:

"In 1814, Briton Thomas Young finished translating the enchorial (demotic) text, and began work on the hieroglyphic script. From 1822 to 1824 the French scholar, philologist, and orientalist Jean-François Champollion greatly expanded on this work and is credited as the principal translator of the Rosetta Stone. Champollion could read both Greek and Coptic, and figured out what the seven Demotic signs in Coptic were. By looking at how these signs were used in Coptic, he worked out what they meant. Then he traced the Demotic signs back to hieroglyphic signs. By working out what some hieroglyphs stood for, he transliterated the text from the Demotic (or older Coptic) and Greek to the hieroglyphs by first translating Greek names which were originally in Greek, then working towards ancient names that had never been written in any other language. Champollion then created an alphabet to decipher the remaining text.[3]"

As you can see, this Champollion fellow started with some understanding. He built on that understanding to decipher more symbols. Presumably Thomas Young did the same before him.

Too bad our man in the room has no understanding of any symbols and so no knowledge base to build on. He can do no more than follow the syntactic instructions in the program: if input = "squiggle" then output "squoogle". 



More information about the extropy-chat mailing list