TIMESCANNER discusses the lab experiments done on the theory that an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters will eventually type the complete works of Shakespeare.
Written and produced by Richard R Penner.
music for this episode by Psychic Mold, Dr Quandary, Aliceffekt. Additional music for this episode by Dana Boulé used via creative commons.
Transcript for 1x15 THE INFINITE MONKEY THEOREM
Annotated transcript for The Infinite Now episode #1678159 THE INFINITE MONKEY THEOREM originally broadcast OCT 15, 2016. This recording survives. Listen to it here.
CRYSTAL: Incoming transmission from The Timescanner.
CRYSTAL: Entertaining Fellow Time Agents stationed in the field working in secret to maintain the integrity of the Spacetime Continuum, broadcasting to you from Time Crystal Omega at the heat death of the universe, This is your host The Timescanner and this is The Infinite Now.
(monkey noises. Typing noises)
TIMESCANNER: The infinite monkey theorem states that if you have an infinite number of monkeys hitting keys atrandom on an infinite number of typewriters for an infinite duration of time, the monkeys will eventually type up the complete works of William Shakespeare.
(angry monkey noises. Sound of things breaking)
The problem with this is that it assumes the monkeys won’t break the typewriters before they’ve typed so much as a single sonnet. (beat) Which, when this experiment has been conducted in a scientific setting... turns out to be the case.
(speaking louder to talk over the monkeys breakig typewriters.)
The Infinite Monkey Theorem has been tested a number of times on a number of planets. Each time the experiment has given us surprising results.
(monkeys rearranging metal objects, them contentedly looking at their work)
Given an infinite amount of time, an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters will eventually rearrange the broken typewriter pieces into a perfect recreation of Marcel Duchamp’s masterpiece painting The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even.
Furthermore, the monkey primarily responsible for the painting, in most of our studies this was a female, will pause to appreciate her work and a monkey who had nothing to do with the artwork will approach her to explain the meaning behind the work to her.
(The sound of monkey explaining painting professorily to another monkey)
The male monkey will say “it’s a crowning achievement of dadaist principles”, that the “forms symbolize cogs in an intricate machine of suffering fueled by the erotic desire exchanged between the machine at the top representing The Bride, and the 9 machine pieces on the bottom half of the artwork representing her ‘bachelors.’” Using the cooing and grunts that comprise the monkey language, The Male monkey will continue to praise the artist behind this work without knowing that in fact the very female he is explaining this all to was the monkey who constructed the piece. The male monkey will repeatedly refer to the artist behind the masterpiece as ‘He’. "HE manages to create an alternate reality working on the rules of a playful alternate system of physics created by sexual attraction. HE really seems to understand the painful longing of seeing a beautiful female monkey from across a crowded room and the momentum that is created when that longing is acted upon. It was really quite brilliant of HIM," the male monkey will explain to the artist. "And by the way, if she’s not doing anything after this experiment would the female monkey like to come back to his cage with him. The scientists gave him a brand new enrichment swing after he chewed through the last one."
In all the Infinite Monkey Experiments, the male monkey’s success rate at luring the female monkey “back to his place” using knowledge of the artwork she herself constructed is statistically indistinguishable from zero.
CRYSTAL: This has been and will always be The Infinite Now.
CRYSTAL: Transmission complete.