05 May 2011

Delusional Thursday: Monkeys with Typewriters

It's a well-known adage than an infinite number of monkeys working on an infinite number of typewriters will eventually produce the collective works of William Shakespeare. This is mostly true, and immediately poses several interesting questions.

First question: Is any experiment along these lines plausible?
Yes, indeed! Accessing the production of such monkeys is a simple matter of inducing a readable quantum probability variance. You can easily find instructions on the web.

Second question: Then it's been done?
Well... getting the monkeys and typewriters is the easy part. But they also produce infinite gibberish, which means the real challenge is coming up with a selection algorithm to pick out their more interesting writings. My own algorithm will remain proprietary, but I'm not the only one who's attempted this, as you will see later.

Third question: Is 'infinity' a number?
It is not. The adage should read "infinite monkeys". Furthermore, they should have exactly one typewriter each to spare us from requiring the axiom of choice, which, though useful, has its share of problems.

Fourth question: Is this blog going to turn into a bunch of esoteric rambling about the nature of infinity?
No, just one more little tidbit.

Fifth question: Then can we please get that over with?
Infinity comes in several sizes (more properly described as 'cardinality'). For example, there are infinite whole numbers (...-3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3...), but mathematicians can prove that there are even more real numbers. To do the experiment properly, you want the "big" infinity. This is obtained by specifying the ratio of langurs, mangabeys, and macaques as π to e to √2. Also, note that I use only monkeys (chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans are great apes).

This worked. Sort of. I've been sifting through monkey-work for several months, and here are some results:

Typist uxw28cs0923kld:
Two trees, or not two trees? That is the question. Whether is nobler in the limb to suffer the competition in the fig, or to clench jaws against a tree of troubles, and by leaping, avoid them. To leap: to grasp; and by a grasp, we say to grab the next tree and escape the fig; 'tis a good move, devoutly to be wished. To grasp, perchance to slip. Aye, there's the rub that makes calamity such a long day. For in that slip of grip, what tumble may come when we have shuffled off this weaken'd branch must give us pause...

Nice work, uxw28cs0923kld. But your monkey-ness is obviously showing through.

Typist 7sdflk2398szcv:
Bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan, in an isolated, secure compound, but with minimal guard. He can be taken by...

Yeah, yeah, I ignored it. What was I supposed to think? Another monkey wrote that I'd left my keys in my car, when, in fact, they were in my pocket the whole time.

Typist mpx82vkls20cvx:
I'm not your typewriter-[obscenity]. Why don't you suck my big monkey [obscenity] you [obscenity] aero-[obscenity]? I ought to take this typewriter, [obscenity] it with a banana, and [obscenity] both into your soft, wet [obscenity] [obscenity].

Alas, this should come as no surprise. Given infinite monkeys, some will spontaneously evolve enough intelligence to type out their own thoughts. My apologies, mpx82vkls20cvx. But I didn't create the you, I merely accessed an existing quantum probability variance.

Typist uxw28cs0923kle:
Two tress, or not twotrees? That is the queisotnj. Whether is nobler int he limg tot suufefr competitnhign in the fig, or tos clchenh jaws. agianst a tree of troubnles, and by leaping ovoid them...

Observe the typist's designation, uxw28cs0923kle. He was obviously sitting right next to uxw28cs0923kld and copying her work.

Typist p23cd89aoixc78:
jklcxnm8923'][.ads God is watching, Jason! Repent, repent! as][;df97c.xvnbweJKC]P 27FDJKL>>>>DS8aDKSF6`

I've included the surrounding gibberish because I want you to realize my position, here. Is this supposed to be a divine message? If so, then frankly, the instructions stink. Repent how? Which God/religion/code am I supposed to embrace? Stupid monkey.

Typist 99cxn176chui7s:
A local department store introduces a new line of lingerie. Shocking pictures at eleven!

Some ordinary household cleaning products are actually poisonous! Find out which ones at eleven!

Dozens of registered sex offenders live right here in Klaxon County. Is there one in your neighborhood? We show you a map at eleven!

Does the IRS owe you an even bigger refund? Is there an oil well in your backyard? Or maybe a lump of gold in your basement? Find out at eleven!

As I said earlier, I'm not the only one who's been accessing this particular probability variance. 99cxn176chui7s writes good copy-- for a monkey, anyway.



ViolaNut said...

Or you could just hook up your infinite improbability drive... ;-)

Hart Johnson said...

*snort* Nice finds on the monkey, Jason! I wish one would write a really good novel we could claim as ours...