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Monday, March 31, 2014

Strap on a helmet cos I don't want to make a mess when I BLOW YOUR MIND: infinite monkey theorem


One of the neatest things I've ever come across was my own solution to infinite monkey theorem. It led me to both a fantastic sci-fi novel plot, and a possibility for starting a strange religious cult.

Infinite monkey theorem has been empirically tested, by the way, and proven to be false:
LONDON - Give an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters, the theory goes, and they will eventually produce the works of Shakespeare.

Researchers at Plymouth University in England reported this week that primates left alone with a computer attacked the machine and failed to produce a single word.

A group of faculty and students in the university's media program left a computer in the monkey enclosure at Paignton Zoo in southwest England, home to six Sulawesi crested macaques. Then, they waited.

At first, said researcher Mike Phillips, “the lead male got a stone and started bashing the hell out of it.

“Another thing they were interested in was in defecating and urinating all over the keyboard,” added Phillips, who runs the university's Institute of Digital Arts and Technologies.

Eventually, monkeys Elmo, Gum, Heather, Holly, Mistletoe and Rowan produced five pages of text, composed primarily of the letter S. Later, the letters A, J, L and M crept in — not quite literature.

The notion that monkeys typing at random will eventually produce literature is often attributed to Thomas Huxley, a 19th-century scientist who supported Charles Darwin's theories of evolution. Mathematicians have also used it to illustrate concepts of chance.
So here's a bit of postmodern fiction on the topic:



Nature - Monkeys.

Also, Jorge Luis Borges wrote a stunning ultrashort shory called The Library of Babel which sort of approaches the whole idea of random text from a different angle.

As far as the strange religious cult bit?

OK, I once did the math and found that if you converted the entire mass-energy of the universe into monkeys (and typewriters, bananas, paper, typewriter ribbon, oxygen, and maybe a sun but we'll leave all that out), it would still take them longer than the expected life of the universe just for them to type out "The fair Ophelia!—Nymph, in thy orisons, be all my sins remembered."

But if you look around, you realize that it has only taken a few million monkeys a few million years to create the complete works of Shakespeare, as well as every author worth talking about and most not worth talking about.

Cuz a few million years ago there were only a few million monkeys on the planet. Then they evolved into us. And we wrote the Shakespeare and stuff. Actually, only a few of us did.

Which kinda suggests that evolution is a process for producing information (and thus, ordering the universe) much faster than random chance possibly could.

But evolution seems to be something that automatically happens in this universe once life arises somewhere within it.

Kinda like how gravity automatically happens, which collapses stars, which then create all the elements, which then glob into lumps and provide the starting conditions necessary for life.

Which means this universe is a system that is set up to produce exponentially more information as time goes on.

Well, at some point the universe will get very heavily ordered. Then you get this thing that Pierre Teilhard de Chardin calls the Omega Point.

Basically, the universe is turning itself into god.

Woooooooo.




1 comment:

  1. An infinite number of monkeys given an infinite amount of time should eventually be able to set up a junior shell corporation with some moose pasture parcel and a 43-101 to go with it, and sell worthless stock to golbuggers. With this they can buy all the bananas they want.

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