Home > Musings on Life in General > Monkeys and typewriters

Monkeys and typewriters

Chimp with a laptop

Okay, so it's a chimp with a laptop. I was fresh out of monkeys and typewriters.

I was thinking about that old saying, which goes something like this:

“If you give an infinite number of monkeys typewriters, then given enough time they’ll eventually produce the Complete Works of Shakespeare.”

Or presumably any other text. I assume a single monkey given infinite time will also produce the same (there are several versions of this saying).

Now, this works because infinity is huge. Huger than huge. In fact it’s the biggest number ever, and then some.

That makes me wonder what infinity plus one is, but that’s another story. Fortunately, infinity’s more of an abstract concept (in my mind), rather than an actual thing, so we don’t need to worry about that.

Now, back to the monkeys. Here’s why they won’t ever produce anything.

We’ve all seen monkeys at the zoo. We all know what they do to amuse the tourists.

Yes, that. I won’t spell it out. We all know what I’m talking about here.

Well, fully half the monkeys will be too busy doing that and won’t be interested in the typewriters.

The other half will be far too busy panicking that although there’s an infinite number of monkeys, no-one thought to provide an infinite number of bananas. Even their limited monkey brains have worked out that this is “not good”.

So there you have it. The theorem of infinite monkeys disproved on practical grounds.

Of course, infinite monkeys could be just a metaphor or something. But I like to think that someone, somewhere, is setting this experiment up. Cool!

  1. May 4, 2014 at 10:19 am

    Very nice, so now I know it wouldn’t work after all. That little picture in my head of them all happily typing away has been forever changed to include ‘you know what’ & bananas. Thanks Ali lol 🙂


    • May 4, 2014 at 10:42 am

      Ooh noo! I’m sorry 😦
      I could be wrong about the monkeys.


      • May 4, 2014 at 10:47 am

        No no, I’m sure you’re absolutely right. Maybe you should do a DraliDoodle on the subject lol 🙂


  1. May 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Speak to me - I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: