On Monkeys and Shakespeare


How many monkeys with typewriters do you think it would take to produce the works of Shakespeare?  Oh yes, lets’ suppose they have an infinite amount of time.  Does that change your answer any?

There is a serious point to this question that has been asked and answered in various forms since Aristotle’s day (but without the typewriters and with a different literary goal).   The argument surfaced over the last 100 years or so when the idea that the diversity of life we see on earth has come about through evolutionary processes that include randomness.    In a nutshell, the question boils down to whether a few billion years is long enough for a natural process that includes randomness to produce anything organized at all, let alone life on earth with all its diversity.

In this article, I would like to suggest how 101 or so monkeys could produce at least one line of Shakespeare. Continue reading