1. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    To infinity and beyond?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Garball, May 13, 2014.

    If you had an infinite amount of monkeys with typewriters, does that mean the complete works of Shakespeare would eventually be typed out, or could be typed out?
     
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  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Bad case of writer's block, have we?
     
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  3. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I thought this was a thread about Buzz Lightyear. :(

    *Hangs head and exits quietly*
     
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  4. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    I thought it was going to be a discussion about whether we could ever travel into deep space.
     
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  5. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    I was actually contemplating infinity. If our universe is infinite in time, and infinity means all things will eventually happen instead of could eventually happen, all things imaginable will eventually exist.
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Hence, my question. ;)
     
  7. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    You can stop my pen, but you can never stop my thinking![​IMG]
     
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  8. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Really?
    If infinity means every combination will eventually happen, every story we write will, or already has happened depending on when/ if the universe began
     
  9. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Hang on there champ, the universe is on 14 billion years old, and it's likely to stick around for at least another hundred billion, and that is a gnat's lifespan compared to infinity.
     
  10. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    Come on man, you have heard some of my hair brained story ideas that I can't use in competitions around here. Do you really think someone else is distorted enough to come up with those same things?

    I really love the one about the guy that falls in love with the life size sex doll that he orders only to find out he is allergic to the latex it is made out of. It would be an instant classic.
     
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  11. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Whoever said that was the case? I had your theory when I was 12.
     
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  12. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    You can paint my face, but you'll never make me William Wallace...
     
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  13. Mackers
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    Mackers Contributing Member

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    I saw this exact question/scenario on a BBC documentary about infinity. You wouldn't be trying to pass this off as your own curious thinking now would you? :)
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2014
  14. stevesh
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    stevesh Banned Contributor

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    I heard Dick Cavett say that he tried placing an infinite number of monkeys in a room with an infinite number of typewriters. He said he didn't get any Shakespeare, but he did get three copies of Valley of the Dolls.

    or

    "We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true."

    Robert Wilensky
     
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  15. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    No, the question has been around longer than me. I'm just curious about the would/ could.
     
  16. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Great, now that you've had three years to think about it, maybe you can share your thoughts.
     
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  17. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    That's my autobiography. :(
     
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  18. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Infinity simply means a limitless amount of time:
    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/infinite?q=infinite

    It says nothing about probability of things happening, nor the guarantee that everything would eventually happen given an infinite amount of time. Everything that has happened COULD eventually happen given infinity, but that says nothing about whether it WOULD happen.

    To be honest, the monkey analogy - now I am no scientist and I'm sure Dawkins is smarter than me in many ways - but that's gotta be one of the stupidest, most nonsensical things I've ever heard. Dawkins' been discredited even by scientists and atheists alike. (and I did suffer through the entirety of The Blind Watchmaker. Admittedly a long time ago now though.)
     
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  19. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    There is just as much probability that they will all type the same thing every time as there is writing Shakespeare. The probability for every key every time it strikes is exactly the same.

    ON the other hand.... 'It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times? Stupid monkey!'
     
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  20. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Right. Every outcome has a probability greater than zero. There is a limited amount of letters in the alphabet and, let's say for arguments sake, there are 10 million letters in all of Bill's works. The number of possible letter combinations that could take place with 26 letters and one space bar in a 10 million keystroke sample is astronomical, but still less than infinity by an infinite amount. I think the probability of encountering every letter combination in a 10 million keystroke string given an infinite amount of rapidly approaches 1.

    But, this question is not just about monkeys.
     
  21. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    So I guess everything that can happen does happen in an infinite universe, huh?
     
  22. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I never understood this question. It would imply that you would have to teach the monkeys a language, teach them how to use a typewriter and how to reset the typewriter, etc.

    I know they're smart, I mean, we've taught chimps and gorillas to communicate via symbols and sign language, but this is so far-fetched that...well...I'm not sure how it could be possible. Could they literally be able to do it if given enough time?

    ....OH! You meant metaphorically, not literally! Ah, I see now. :D

    I guess some stories will be similar, but they're all likely to have the typist' own spin on things.
     
  23. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Or the same thing happens infinitely. Probability is the same.
     
  24. Mackers
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    Mackers Contributing Member

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    It's not like that at all.

    The monkeys tap randomly on the typewriter. If there are an infinite number of monkeys tapping randomly on an infinite number of typewriters, the idea is whether they can type the entire works of shakespeare without making a mistake.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem

    By the way, infinity is a fascinating subject for me...Blows my mind when I try to comprehend it cos well, you know, the brain can't compute something that goes on forever
     
  25. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I think he got that, Mackers. I believe the post was satirical. ;)
     
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