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AI May Have Helped Solve Shakespeare Mystery, Identify Collaborator


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AI May Have Helped Solve Shakespeare Mystery, Identify Collaborator

Given his contribution to the English language and literature, it’s no surprise that Shakespeare has stirred his fair share of controversy, not the least of which is about his authorship of the many plays attributed to him. With the help of AI, Czech researcher Petr Plecháč has been able to shed more definitive light on…

Given his contribution to the English language and literature, it’s no surprise that Shakespeare has stirred his fair share of controversy, not the least of which is about his authorship of the many plays attributed to him. With the help of AI, Czech researcher Petr Plecháč has been able to shed more definitive light on the subject.

Plecháč developed a machine learning system to analyze Henry VIII to determine what portions Shakespeare wrote and what portions may have been written by a collaborator. By analyzing word choices and patterns, the AI determined what parts of the play were written by suspected collaborator John Fletcher, while another collaborator was ruled out.

“Combined versification-based and word-based models trained on 17th century English drama yield a high accuracy of authorship recognition. We can thus state with high reliability that H8 is a result of collaboration between William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, while the participation of Philip Massinger is rather unlikely.”

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The study, while decidedly backward-looking, has far-reaching implications. It’s another example of the many ways AI can be used, and demonstrates why so many scientists believe AI has the potential to be one of the greatest advances in human history.

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