Welcome to WIRED UK. This site uses cookies to improve your experience and deliver personalised advertising. You can opt out at any time or find out more by reading our cookie policy. AI has helped us decode ancient languages, and now researchers are turning the same technique to help understand our pets Each time any of us uses a tool, such as Gmail, where there’s a powerful agent to help correct our spellings, and suggest sentence endings, there’s an AI machine in the background, steadily getting better and better at understanding language. Sentence structures are parsed, word choices understood, idioms recognised. That exact capability could, in 2020, grant the ability to speak with other large animals. Really. Maybe even faster than brain-computer interfaces will take the stage. Our AI-enhanced abilities to decode languages have reached a point where they could start to parse languages not spoken by anyone alive. Recently, researchers from MIT and Google applied these abilities to ancient scripts – Linear B and Ugaritic (a precursor of Hebrew) – with reasonable success (no luck so far with the older, and as-yet undeciphered Linear A). First, word-to-word relations for a spe...