"Smithers,
release the monkeys."

*By Mark
Fisher*

1000 monkeys
typing exemplar: The number of monkeys typing often varies, but you know the
story: a bunch of monkeys are randomly typing and manage to produce either the
entire works of Shakespeare or maybe just Hamlet given sufficient time.

Now, if I sat
in my private soundproof study for 10 years with my monkeys, as Wolfram claims
he did with his Cellular Automata (CA) what conclusions could I make. He claims
that you cannot predict how interesting the outcome of any particular CA is so
we better run as many as we can to find the interesting ones. I will make the
same claim for my monkeys: I cannot predict the outcome of any specific monkey
therefore we better get as many monkeys and typewriters as possible.

Wolfram makes
the claim that the best way to evaluate the outcome of a CA and whether it is
relevant to any specific problem is to look at it with the human eye. I will
make the same claim for my monkeys: I will read their output and tell you when
they produce something interesting. Who knows, maybe some of the monkeys will
create some interesting ASCII art for my upcoming book that defines how kind of
science with monkeys can be done.

Wolfram claims
that if we run enough CA then we will find answers to all those problems that
are computationally reducible. I agree, scientist can simply give up the dead
end path they are on now and start pouring over the output from my monkeys.
Looking there, they will find answers to all the unsolved problems (the ones
that are monkey reducible, of course).

Wolfram claims
that when the basic CA are put on flash cards, he can recognize the rules for
that CA almost immediately. I will make the same claim for my monkeys; I can
tell by the consistency of the fecal matter splattered against the paper which
monkey was responsible.

Unlike
Wolfram's CA, all of my monkeys follow the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Consider
the closed system of the soundproof office called O. Add any nontrivial number
of monkeys (the only trivial case I am aware is where the monkeys are set to
zero; even if dead, they would still rot). Like some of the CA, this closed
system is independent of the initial conditions for the monkeys. O will become
an increasingly disordered mess and the monkeys are not going to spontaneously
clean it up. Anyway you look at it Shannon and thermodynamic entropy are both
increasing.

Wolfram
predicts that in 50 years this new kind of science will be taught in schools. I
predict that in 50 years that these typing monkeys will be teaching schools
since we will give up on the dead end math and science curriculum that we have
now and replace it with reading over the output from typing monkeys. This
framework means that everything we will know will flow from the monkeys. Because
of this discovery, I strongly suspect that in 100 years the typing monkeys will
have taken over and we will be living on the Planet of the Apes.

Unlike Wolfram,
I actually propose an experiment that will answer once and for all which is a
superior new kind of science. Wolfram can run which ever CA he suspects will
win (and as long as he promises not to take legal action, he can even contact
Matthew Cook and find out what he should pick). To make it fair, I will modify
the typewriters to have only the spacebar and 'X' key to represent his white
and black squares. Now based on the Principle of Computational Equivalence
(Wolfram's PCE states that any sufficiently complex thing is equivalent to any
other sufficiently complex thing) this is actually a valid test. Further, if a
CA is equivalent to a human, a monkey would seem to work just as well. Then we
start. If the CA produces something that looks and acts like a monkey first,
Wolfram's new science wins. If the monkeys produce something that looks and like
a CA first, the new monkey science wins. Now who has a universal machine?

Wolfram claims
to have produced 100 million keystrokes in order to produce a 1200 page book
that is mostly redundant. My monkeys can do that standing on their heads (and
actually do). Wait ... with all these similarities, I strongly suspect that
this is really what Wolfram is doing. He has stolen the monkey idea and not
given me (or the monkeys) credit...

"Smithers,
release the hounds."