Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer
It’s been said that if you give a room full of monkeys a room full of typewriters, they will eventually type up a Shakespeare play given enough time.
As a philosophical exercise, there is a point to the premise. However, there are a number of factors that make it impossible as a real-world application.
First and foremost, monkeys are mortal and will die after a few short decades.
Second of all, the typewriters themselves will often break under the surprisingly strong hands of the monkeys.
Thirdly, if the monkeys bash on the keys, they will hit the same group of keys over and over again with little variation, ignoring keys on the fringes such as shift, enter, and the space bar.
That’s where my MonkeyTron tm project comes in. I have created supercomputers whose job is to spew randomly generated letters, punctuation, and spaces. By running sixty of these computers concurrently, I have theoretically created this room of monkeys.
They’ve been running for a year.
So far, we have garnered half a poem by Robert Frost, nearly two full pages from the screenplay for The Shining, a full recipe for ‘glass brownies’, the entire lyrical songbook of Avril Lavigne’s career, two paragraphs from an engineering manual, and six nonsense limericks.
One page of Hamlet showed up, gentleman. I have faith that the future looks bright. Too bright.
Ladies and gentlemen of the council, this page of Hamlet that showed up seemed to be ‘corrected’. There were only seven minor changes from the original, but it made the language seem to flow better. This is very worrying.
Worrying because it’s only been a year.
What’s even more alarming is that computer 18 has stopped including words and seems to be focusing entirely on math. It’s spouted out, amongst the gibberish, several of Newton’s laws and half of a Hawking precept.
The gibberish is disappearing, gentlemen. The computers are finding their own areas of expertise and they seem to be closing in on our own level of intelligence.
The fear is that they will start to create original pieces of written art that rivals our own. The chilling implication is that maybe our own pieces of art that echo down through the centuries are not original at all and were merely randomly generated from our own minds.
With the math robot, we’re worried that it may start to come forth with mathematical theories and physical concepts that supersede our own. What happens then? How do we publish these discoveries and who do we credit?
I am coming to you, supreme council, for a decision on whether or not to proceed.