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#171527 - Fri May 09 2003 03:53 PM They really can't reproduce Shakespeare after all!
Linda1 Offline
Star Poster

Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 11250
Loc: Munchkinland
I laughed at this story!


Surprise -- six monkeys can't write Shakespeare
By The Associated Press
(5/09/03 - LONDON) — Give an infinite number of monkeys an infinite number of typewriters, the theory goes, and they will eventually produce the prose the likes of Shakespeare.
Give six monkeys one computer for a month, and they will make a mess.

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.

"They pressed a lot of S's," researcher Mike Phillips said Friday. "Obviously, English isn't their first language."

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 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.

Phillips said the project, funded by England's Arts Council rather than by scientific bodies, was intended more as performance art than scientific experiment.

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.

The Plymouth experiment was part of the Vivaria Project, which plans to install computers in zoos across Europe to study differences between animal and artificial life.

Phillips said the experiment showed that monkeys "are not random generators. They're more complex than that.

"They were quite interested in the screen, and they saw that when they typed a letter, something happened. There was a level of intention there."

Cats know what we feel. They don't care, but they know.

#171528 - Fri May 09 2003 04:09 PM Re: They really can't reproduce Shakespeare after all!
snm Offline

Registered: Thu Jan 30 2003
Posts: 901
Loc: Israel
Yet somehow Coolupway manages to post. Amazing

(You're going to kill me now, aren't you?)
"Talk is cheap, arms are not"- Victor Davis Hanson

#171529 - Fri May 09 2003 04:44 PM Re: They really can't reproduce Shakespeare after all!
DieHard Offline

Registered: Wed Oct 10 2001
Posts: 1127
Loc: Louisiana USA
That's very funny, snm!!
In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. - FDR

#171530 - Fri May 09 2003 05:28 PM Re: They really can't reproduce Shakespeare after all!
A Member Offline

Registered: Fri Nov 23 2001
Posts: 3082
Yes but it wasn't a room full of monkeys sitting at a typewriter - the test was of a limited duration and the monkeys at least got 3 letters that Shakespeare used (lol)
and expressed their views of Shakespeare on the keyboard!


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