Tired Monkeys On Typewriters

Infinity… What does it mean? The concept of something going on and on forever is certainly a perplexing one, and is unintuitive in the sense of our daily lives. Everything in our world is finite, completely limited in some way or form, and therefore imagining infinity as some sort of entity, which can be manipulated and used in various situations, is quite new (relatively…). Today I wanted to share a very interesting theorem that I recently read about on the topic of infinity known as the Infinite Monkey Theorem.


Given enough time, this theorem says, an unlimited number of monkeys typing on typewriters will eventually reproduce every any work of writing, for example the entire Lord of The Rings book series. This is assuming that the monkeys hit keys at random We all know that when we have going big makes random a lot less random, for example winning lotteries after buying millions of tickets, but this theorem really stretches this idea.

My interpretation of this idea is kind of ambivalent. The main bewildering concept of infinity is that there is no real way to test it out, no function or program we can run to get the results which we want, and therefore it is also hard to visualize. In my mind, if there were to be a computer that ran “infinity” in every sense of the word, which is not possible, I would think that this theorem would be true. Yet at the same time, I think about how as time hurtles by, however unlikely it may be, the keys being hit could be simply a repeating set of letters which produce none of the books which we want them to. As time goes on, this could continue, and although it is probabilistically negligible, it is still possible, and there is nothing saying that this could not continue forever and ever.

What’s your take on this?



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