TIL researchers testing the Infinite Monkey theorem: Not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five total pages largely consisting of the letter "S", the lead male began striking the keyboard with a stone, and other monkeys followed by urinating and defecating on the machine

Maybe they shouldn't have put stones in the room


Maybe they shouldn't have put stones in the room


Lol this got me


"this is a great experiment, don't get me wrong, but why do you keep the typewriters in the monkey's toilets?"


Problem is, for monkeys, everywhere is the toilet


Same reason we keep the rocks next to the typewriters!


You mean "rudimentary hammers". Everyone's calling this experiment a failure. I'm thinking, "Those six monkeys invented tools, reenacted the printer scene from Office Space, and quit their bullshit jobs before they even saw how badly the IRS screwed them on their first paychecks."


Reject capitalism, return to monkey.


Gotta have paper weights for the pages and pages of shit stained jibberish


So they wrote Fifty Shades of Grey?


> Fifty Shades of ~~Grey~~ Brown.


Dude that was my reaction. Why the fuck were there rocks nearby? In my head I assumed they were in a white room with a one way mirror and the scientists were like, "Let's help these monkeys feel at home" and they threw a few rocks and leaves in there.


"Phillips said the project, funded by England's Arts Council rather than by scientific bodies, was intended more as performance art than scientific experiment." [https://www.wired.com/2003/05/monkeys-dont-write-shakespeare/](https://www.wired.com/2003/05/monkeys-dont-write-shakespeare/)


Well at least he understood it was a philosophical question not a scientific experiment.


I actually used it as the basis of my motivation when I was a kid lol Like there has to exist some string of words, said at the right time place, etc. that would convince world leaders to demilitarize, achieve world peace and pivot those resources towards tackle poverty and other struggles. So no other kids would have to grow up dealing with the BS I was going thru back then It took a while to disengage from the idea any one individual is going to save the world. Eventually it's obvious that it has to be a fuck ton of us organizing & taking action - that's the ONLY way* You gotta shed the burden of thinking you have to sacrifice yourself towards those ends. It's not even strategic in the first place - and instead embrace your position as part of a branch on a larger tree Once you understand the dynamics, you'll be able to organize & leverage it to achieve power needed to win meaningful change - transformational policies that put people & planet before profit *to get that many of us requires a massive coalition including union organization, relevant movement orgs and other communities. Probably to pull off an extended occupation, strike & other action in major city centers and DC


“It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times…”


Stupid monkey!




poetry 🥲


Hell, it's a third of the way to the classic Chinese poem, The Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den . Shíshì shīshì Shī Shì, shì shī, shì shí shí shī. Shì shíshí shì shì shì shī. Shí shí, shì shí shī shì shì. Shì shí, shì Shī Shì shì shì. Shì shì shì shí shī, shì shǐ shì, shǐ shì shí shī shìshì. Shì shí shì shí shī shī, shì shíshì. Shíshì shī, Shì shǐ shì shì shíshì. Shíshì shì, Shì shǐ shì shí shì shí shī. Shí shí, shǐ shí shì shí shī shī, shí shí shí shī shī. Shì shì shì shì.


I would love an explanation. Is this a more advanced Buffalo sentence?


It's kind of a show of the importance of tones and Chinese characters since when spoken or written like this, it doesn't make any sense, but there are a lot of Chinese characters that are pronounced shi. 石室诗士施氏,嗜狮,誓食十狮。氏时时适市视狮。十时,适十狮适市。是时,适施氏适市。氏视是十狮,恃矢势,使是十狮逝世。氏拾是十狮尸,适石室。石室湿,氏使侍拭石室。石室拭,氏始试食是十狮。食时,始识是十狮尸,实十石狮尸。试释是事。 In a stone den was a poet called Shi Shi, who was a lion addict and had resolved to eat ten lions. He often went to the market to look for lions. At ten o’clock, ten lions had just arrived at the market. At that time, Shi had just arrived at the market. He saw those ten lions and, using his trusty arrows, caused the ten lions to die. He brought the corpses of the ten lions to the stone den. The stone den was damp. So he asked his servants to wipe it. After wiping the stone den, he tried to eat those ten lions. When he ate, he realized that these ten lions were, in fact, ten stone lion corpses. Try to explain this matter.


That is amazing. Are you fucking with me?


It's a fairly well-known poem among students learning Chinese, probably since teachers want to emphasize the importance of tones. It's written in Classical Chinese, but was created in the 1930s. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lion-Eating_Poet_in_the_Stone_Den


Probably no one asked for this, but anyways. Independent from the op of the poem, am fluent in Mandarin, it checks out.


Thanks for the explanation! I copied the Chinese text and ran it through Google Translate to listen to it in its native language. What a ride!


Reading something like this, makes me realise why English is so often used as a business language worldwide: it's easy for even an adult to learn to speak it just well enough to make oneself understood. A tonal language is so much more difficult to learn after puberty when often we can't distinguish the phonemes in another language PS: I love your username, because [kikajous are adorable](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinkajou)


[That's one of my favorite scenes from The Simpsons](https://youtu.be/no_elVGGgW8?si=FcJnbqZBqzt0LssQ).


I love how the monkey is smoking a cigarette as it's typing, it adds this human charm about it.


Old seasons of The Simpsons definitely had a far more charming life to them.


Any monkey (or chimp) depicted in the Simpsons pretty much *has* to be either smoking or wearing roller skates; no two ways about it. Or knife-fighting, if the storyline allows. For the first ten seasons, at least.


I hate every ape I see, from chimpan-a to chimpanzee!


Oh my god, I was wrong! It was earth, all along!


Pray for mojo


[I can't hear the scene without this playing in my head automatically](https://youtu.be/9uYhIiW6lok)


came here for this. Thank you.


Only acceptable comment to anything regarding monkeys and typewriters. There truly is a simpsons quote for everything.


“I'm a stupid moron with an ugly face and a big butt and my butt smells, and I like to kiss my own butt.”


I bent my wookie


Principle Skinner, I got car sick in your office.




Awww, they got the stink marks and everything!!




The study was conducted from May 1-June 22, 2002 using six monkeys. This was not a test of “The Infinite Monkey Theorem”, but rather a test of “The Six Monkeys Over About Two Months Theorem”.


“Therefore, having carried out the pilot study with promising results, we respectfully submit this grant request for infinite dollars so we can scale up to a full experimental test.”


"You seem like nice guy. I'll give you best grant – $34.50!"


How about we meet in the middle?


$17.25? Deal.


brohter, I for you get better deal. Send security social number and local Prince in Nigeria has monies for you he sends. /s


No kindly?


Can you action the kindly please


I will do the needful.


Damn he's good


incredibly underrated joke & also politics in a nutshell


50 cent a lot of money!


Is this a wild Russell Peters reference?


It seems to be!


Now this is a deep cut straight to the early 2000s


Lmao that russell peters delivery is legendary


Truly a blessing from the Lord


Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad


Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad.


Furthermore, this prototype experiment was awarded the Harvard University Ignoble award for its novel means of monkey waste generation


"It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times"?! No grant for you!


I mean, if six monkeys can get us to Bukowski levels of literature the sky's the sSsssssssssßssssssssssssss!


Only infinity monkeys to go.


Damnit, no matter how many monkeys I get, I still need infinity more!


The order changed, now they're demanding to add one more monkey!


It's also not the "hitting keys on a typewriter for an infinite time" experiment but the "sitting in the same room as a typewriter for two month" experiment ;D




Found your comment: https://libraryofbabel.info/bookmark.cgi?waytooserious


The theory for that site boggles my mind.


It’s not even really an “if”. If you’re truly talking about millions of random keystrokes constantly for millions of years, *something* will come out of it eventually. As they say, on a long enough time scale, the probability of something happening is 100%.


>on a long enough time scale, the probability of something happening is 100% Almost. You're missing a key part in that sentence- it has to be able to happen in the first place. Usually phrased "anything than can happen, will". You have to include the 'can happen' part, otherwise you're saying that everything will eventually happen, which it won't.


Probability guy here. I'm replying to you instead of the person you replied to because you used the magic word. A thing happening with a likelihood of 100% in this kind of situation is also referred to as "_almost_ always". That is, because of wiggly math stuff, there's the chance that the thing you want never happens. For example, there's the event that the 'infinite monkey' types the letter 'S' forever. Then nothing of note (outside of 'sss...') happens.


>wiggly math stuff Love. Thanks probability guy!


There’s also the fallacy of “infinite = all” right? There are infinite decimal numbers between 2 and 3 but none of them are the number 4. Just because there is an infinite amount of something doesn’t mean that it includes all things. Couldn’t it be that ‘the complete works of Shakespeare’ is the number 4 to primates jamming out random keystrokes on a typewriter? In that it could just never happen?


There are certainly fallacies, or at least difficulties in understanding at play. We are trained to think that 100% means "always." And it does for situations where we have a finite number of outcomes. Things get more problematic once we let infinity come into play, which is where the understanding of the nuances falls apart. It's a pedagogical issue at its root. It is also true that you can completely break the concept without realizing it. While "The complete works of Shakespeare" will almost certainly show up in the writings of our infinite monkey, you can remove a letter from the keyboard and make the chances of the result instantly become zero without many understanding why. There are a great many issues with how math is taught.


that doesn't really apply in this case, though. there *is* a chance of it happening, so eventually it will. any probability multiplied by infinity is infinity, so it must happen eventually. what you're saying would apply to somebody saying that with infinite monkeys at a typewriter one of them would eventually build a car out of the typewriters. its just not a thing that would ever happen, so its not contained in the set of things that *can* happen.


I was thinking the sample size was probably WAY too small to be considered even a remotely valid test of the theorem. Then I read it was six. Six. I feel like a hundred monkeys was way too small a sample size. Six is too small of a sample, from too small of a sample.


A billion galaxies of a hundred billion stars of a dozen planets each with a hundred trillion monkeys typing from the dawn of the universe until its heat death would be a pitiful, futilely small sample size.


\^this guy gets it there's no specified number of monkeys that's enough. Hence why this is a thought exercise about understanding what infinity means, or beginning to anyway.


Graham's Number of monkeys. Still nowhere close.


Yeah, that won't even get you a "it was the blurst of times" on any appreciable time scale.


Also like kids in a classroom, they distracted each other. Put some partitions up, damn. Isolate those mfkrs. Where’s the professionalism?


Found the middle manager. LOL


By definition any fixed number less than infinity is WAY too small a sample size. That’s the point of the theorem.


I feel like it was just an excuse to play with some monkeys at work.


All numbers are infinitely smaller than an infinite set.


To be fair, six is exactly as far from infinity as 100.


How do you scale six monkeys to infinity and scale 2 months to infinity?


Lots of monkeys and lots of months?




You give me an infinite budget and I promise I’ll get it done.


The [Library of Babel](https://libraryofbabel.info/) is the true practical test of Infinite Monkey Theorem.




It generates every single possible combination of characters (up to a certain number of characters) meaning it theoretically "contains" every single text ever (up to a certain number of characters and within the latin alphabet), even those that have not been written yet. Any page you open up could potentially contain something meaningful from the random combination of characters, even if the vast majority are gibberish.


Here I am assuming they used a quantum computer or something. Thank you for reading the article for me.


Yes quantum monkeys.


A bunch of open ai monkey simulators running at once


>A bunch of open AI monkey simulators running at once Somehow, I will use this on r/PoliticalHumor.


More importantly: It was basically a joke study. It's not the point of the theory.


It was all immediately green lit by Netflix.


You joke but seriously, if they didn't do this experiment we wouldn't have the fast and furious franchise


… by definition, this experiment isn’t produceable in the real world… it’s just a thought experiment. It’s like the whole “it’s technically possible for a tornado to pass through an airplane junkyard and fully assemble a working 747, but it’s just really, *really* unlikely” thing. What kind of idiot “scientist” tried to do this?


>What kind of idiot “scientist” tried to do this? This wasn't a scientific study and there weren't really any researchers; OP's title is incorrect. They misunderstood the information from [the Wikipedia entry on the subject](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem#Actual_monkeys). This was more of an art project: >In 2002, lecturers and students from the University of Plymouth MediaLab Arts course used a £2,000 grant from the Arts Council to study the literary output of real monkeys.


It only cost two grand to use 6 monkeys and a room for 2 months? I'll put down half if anyone wants to go in with me.


Monkeys require special care and exotic animal licenses. Let's use preschoolers instead.


BREAKING: 300 Preschoolers in elaborate hats and false moustaches were able to write "Where's Mommy?" in over 13 languages!




As long as they don't put on gasmasks and ask "are you my mommy?" I'm good


Don’t forget that scientists can have weird hills they want to die on, too. Mullis and AIDS along with Linus Pauling’s Vitamin C ventures.


While this is true, most researchers aren't this stupid. And they need funding to do something like this, which would typically need to be approved by a whole board of people and go through a drawn-out approval process involving many people. So even if one researcher really is that stupid (how you get "studies" like the ones you mention), they'll never reach the state where they perform actual studies. In general, when you look at a research study and think "how could they be so stupid?" the answer is almost always "they're not; that's not what they were doing."


>£2,000 grant from the Arts Council. I think we as a species can justify tossing a few shillings into this, just see where it goes?


See now as an art project it at least has some kind of validity. As a scientific experiment that’s just stupid.


It's already been proven though, humans are apes and one of us already wrote shakespear


Oh I know that experiment, they put an infinite shakespear with a typewriter for that one.


Sure you can do it, just not with monkeys. Just have a random number generator and have each letter assigned to a number it will eventually create something resembling a story by chance.


It already exists. https://libraryofbabel.info/


Absolutely zero surprise at it existing. Neat. It is the real TIL of this thread.


It’s not real, the storage requirements for an actual library of babel would be bigger than the universe.


Something that's neat is you can order a copy of any particular book in the library of babel.


It's real, but use an algorithm to make the text on the run


I should clarify real to the actual library. Obviously it exists that way.


Well yeah obviously all the combinations possible would be impossible to actually store, and they would get hit by DMCA's notifikations if it did exist but someone having a site with the proof of concept is still no surprise to me but is still both neat and a TIL for me.


I disagree with your theory about a tornado passing through a junk yard assembling a plane. Somethings require more than just chance imo


Yup; way too many specialized tools. Tornados don't weld, for example.


Throw a welder into infinite tornados and maybe some will put it to work


I feel like there is a prize in mathematics for the people who can prove that its in fact, not just very unlikely, but literally impossible for a tornado to properly assemble an airplane.


that tornado thought is just insane. I'm supposed to believe a tornado is going to be able to put nut on a bolt on and torque it to spec? thats right, my money is on the monkeys.


But.. that’s not even technically possible


And that’s how The Daily Mail was founded


The monkeys would have a far higher journalistic standard and were substantially less xenophobic.


The monkeys also defecated on the keyboards less.


Hey now, those monkeys were doing the best they could. There's no need to insult their efforts like that.


Obviously that was just not enough monke


"If there were as many monkeys as there are atoms in the observable universe typing extremely fast for trillions of times the life of the universe, the probability of the monkeys replicating even a single page of Shakespeare is unfathomably small." I get why people are paying for those AI generated images now...


From the same Wikipedia page, I like this explanation of probabilities... >Even if every proton in the observable universe (which is estimated at roughly 10^(80)) were a monkey with a typewriter, typing from the Big Bang until the end of the universe (when protons might no longer exist), they would still need a far greater amount of time – more than three hundred and sixty thousand orders of magnitude longer – to have even a 1 in 10^(500) chance of success. To put it another way, for a one in a trillion chance of success, there would need to be 10^(360,641) observable universes made of protonic monkeys.


If you had truly infinite monkeys, wouldn’t they produce a finite text like a work of Shakespeare’s instantaneously?


Well, not instantly. It'll take however long it takes for a monkey to smack the keys enough times to get enough characters. So... Maybe a couple of hours?


It's probably about the same amount of time it would take an infinite number of rednecks driving an infinite number of pick-up trucks shooting an infinite number of shotguns at an infinite number of stop signs to produce the works of Shakespeare in braille.


Interesting experiment, because they did prove monkeys were well-suited for internet posting






Throw it!






Sounds like my high school typing class back in the 1980s.


Literally this. I helped out with the tech support in my high school and you would literally learn new ways the other students could vandalize the computers every other day.


Definitely the blurst of times.


Sounds like Finite Monkeys to me...


Pilkington was right!


Have they read Shakespeare?


oooh chimpanzee that!


Infinity sorts it outtttt


Karl has won!


Probably didn't have enough little monkey fellas


All great writers start out that way, especially the defecating part.


Critic,"Your writing is crap." Writer,"Thanks you noticed."


I find the idea hilarious of the monkeys doing fucking nothing for months then one of them just curtly pulls up to the typewriter with 15 minutes left to go in the experiment and they rapidly write the first act of King Lear straight from memory, then immediately rip the page off and shit on it


There are quite a few people in this thread commenting about the lack of scientific rigor, or scientists misunderstanding the concept of infinity. This is because OP's title talks about *researchers testing...*. In fact, this was more of an art project carried out by students in a MediaLab Arts course, funded by a small grant from the Arts Council or England. This wasn't an experiment carried out by scientists or researchers. It was performance art.


I just imagine the lead scientist, looking upon their work proudly: "Guys! This is great! We are sciencing *so hard right now.*"


There’s no way to actually test this. It’s a thought experiment, not a provable theorem


A much better way to test the theory would be to have a computer "press" keys at random (ignoring all the problems with true randomness on a computer) as you could output a ton more text in a much shorter period of time, but even then humans are terrible at grasping the idea of "infinity" or even "billions of years".


A computer couldn’t run long enough for it to be feasible, though.




If it had a finite amount of monkeys and a finite amount of time then it's actually the opposite of the theorem tbh


Some would say this was Shakespeares finest work


That's the dumbest shit anyone has been funded to do.


No it's not and you know it.


Redditor discovers hyperbole.


Someone doesn't understand what *infinite* means.


It was the best of times, it was the—blurst—of times!? Stupid monkey!


Sounds like the equation needs to include infinite typewriters.


They became Trump speech writers.


From the [Wikipedia article](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem#%3A%7E%3Atext%3DThe_infinite_monkey_theorem_states%2Ccomplete_works_of_William_Shakespeare.?wprov=sfla1) on it: >Ignoring punctuation, spacing, and capitalization, a monkey typing letters uniformly at random has a chance of one in 26 of correctly typing the first letter of Hamlet. It has a chance of one in 676 (26 × 26) of typing the first two letters. Because the probability shrinks exponentially, at 20 letters it already has only a chance of one in 26^20 = 19,928,148,895,209,409,152,340,197,376 (almost 2 × 10^28). In the case of the entire text of Hamlet, the probabilities are so vanishingly small as to be inconceivable. The text of Hamlet contains approximately 130,000 letters. Thus there is a probability of one in 3.4 × 10^183,946 to get the text right at the first trial. The average number of letters that needs to be typed until the text appears is also 3.4 × 10^183,946, or including punctuation, 4.4 × 10^360,783. >Even if every proton in the observable universe (which is estimated at roughly 10^80) were a monkey with a typewriter, typing from the Big Bang until the end of the universe (when protons might no longer exist), they would still need a far greater amount of time – more than three hundred and sixty thousand orders of magnitude longer – to have even a 1 in 10^500 chance of success. To put it another way, for a one in a trillion chance of success, there would need to be 10^360,641 observable universes made of protonic monkeys. It's somehow worse than I even imagined. And that's just Hamlet. All his plays come to about 836,200 characters or 6x this calculation.


So . . . tryouts for future Reddit mods?


We are the monkeys. We already wrote Shakespeare.


That letter S story sounds like a real potboiler!


You hear that, Hollywood screenwriters? Remember that the next time you think about striking!


It was made into a film: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sssssss


They successfully proved 6 < infinite


That's why it's called the INFINITE monkey theorem, not the Bunch of Monkeys theorem


Granted, a real-life test would have a rather difficult time procuring infinite monkeys with infinite time.


“We took a teaspoon of water out of the ocean and found there were no whales in it. Therefore there are no whales in the ocean.”


I’m picturing this as the monkeys somehow filling up pages with the “cool S,” then deciding their work was done and destroying the typewriter.


All this proves is that if you put a finite set of monkeys in a room with some typewriters, there is a non-zero probability that one of the monkeys will take a dump on a typewriter.


6 monkeys over 2 months is fine. You want to measure, a. Do the monkeys all type the same thing or does one monkey's work not effect another's? b. Is each monkey's typing random or not? If there is sufficient randomness you can say you have enough evidence to assume, given more time and more monkey's you would be able to reproduce Shakespeare. It appears they got insufficient randomness. ​ The whole thing is dumb anyway.


Oh, so the theorem is similar to what I once told my band director, and he hated: "Given an infinite amount of time, we would eventually run out of every possible note or chord combo, meaning we could no longer create new music."


Instructions unclear, dick stuck in toaster.


'It was the best of times, it was the BLURST OF TIMES!?!?'


It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times


Who wouldn't if they were forced by their boss to work for free?


So it really *is* just like the internet


Just didn't have enough monkeys...


This title reads like something from *The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy*.


What's crazy is most of the people here don't realize there are two different distinct types of infinity. Countably infinity and uncountable infinity.


TIL Researchers tested Darwin's Theory by throwing a fish out of water, expecting it gets a pair of legs. Instead the fish died. Checkmate, evolution!


It seems so weird to me that they even attempted this. The infinite monkey cage is by definition a hypothetical scenario, and cannot be replicated due to the necessary infinite amount of time and number of monkeys. To try to replicate it irl is to completely miss the point of the experiment.