Researchers at Plymouth University in England tested a portion of the theory that, given an infinite number of monkeys and an infinite amount of time, the works of Shakespeare would be produced. Give six monkeys a computer for a month:
- “They pressed a lot of S’s,” researcher Mike Phillips said Friday. “Obviously, English isn’t their first language.”
In a project intended more as performance art than scientific experiment, 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 results 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.” [AP]