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We're One Step Closer to the Infinite Monkey Theorem

Maybe you've heard of the Infinite Monkey Theorem? It states that given an infinite amount of time, a room full of monkeys and typewriters, almost surely they'll write the complete works of Shakespeare.

It was best demonstrated on this classic episode of the Simpsons:

Well now we could be one step closer to that.

Researchers at Harvard found that rhesus monkeys could be taught to add two symbols and decide whether it was greater than a single symbol. The paper is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Which is great for monkeys doing math. However things didn't go so well when they tried getting the monkeys to write Macbeth. According to Wikipedia:

In 2003, 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. They left a computer keyboard in the enclosure of six Celebes Crested Macaques in Paignton Zoo in Devon in England for a month, with a radio link to broadcast the results on a website.

Not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five total pages largely consisting of the letter S, but the lead male began by bashing the keyboard with a stone, and the monkeys continued by urinating and defecating on it.

So maybe we're still a while away from Planet Of The Apes.

 

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