Monkeys, Art, Robots

The highest experiential expressions we have available to us as human beings are the arts.  Every culture, from the Mayans to the Roman Empire, has used literature, music, drama, photography, and dance to express their unique views of our tiny universe.  True art creates meaningful reality.  It has the power to move us.  It stimulates our brains and senses, opening our minds and helping us to become more compassionate to our brothers and sisters.  Art expresses ideas and gives a voice to that lonely traveler we call the artist. 

There are currently 195 countries on the earth, with a world population of over 6 billion.  Countries are at war with each other, fighting over land, natural resources, and power.  The UN officially recognizes 134 current wars.  In addition, there are hundreds of thousands of murders and rapes every year.  Global warming is causing detrimental climate change.  Approximately 80% of the world lives in poverty.  Sorrow and dismay are prevalent.   The human race is becoming despondent. 

We need good art now more than ever.   We need it for the sake of our children.

There’s an old theory contending that if a room full of monkeys were at typewriters typing randomly, given an infinite amount of time, eventually the monkeys would type literary masterpieces such as the works of Shakespeare.   The monkeys would in essence create art. offers this thought experiment.

The monkey artists left alone would eventually generate great works of art.  However, the process needs to be improved.  We don’t have an infinite amount of time; we need the art now.  The art needs to be produced at a greater rate. 

The monkey artists need to be managed.  At first it would seem that the best option would be to have the monkeys self-govern.   However, millions of years have taught us that monkeys are incapable of managing themselves.  Their disciplinary tactics have not evolved past biting and throwing feces.  The next approach would have humans monitoring their efforts.   However, using people as management tools would be ineffective.  The monkeys would come to resent their human masters.  Additionally, humans are subject to fatigue, are often unreliable, and can be corrupted.  We need something a bit steadier, more predictable, more reliable. 

We need robots.  

The most effective management for the monkey artists would be robots.  The laws of aesthetics could be encoded in their individual CPU.  Monkeys would be conditioned to produce good art with a strict reward system, with the bad art being filtered out with punishments.  Robots could also be used to selectively breed the monkeys who create the best art.  While many may scoff at this idea, it should be remembered that potatoes were originally peanut sized, until selective breeding was used to increase their size.  The same thing was done with horses.  Monkey work ethic would improve, as would productivity.  The saying “monkeying around” could come to mean positive work.

The art produced wouldn’t have to be limited to just literary achievements.  Business could be expanded to painting, poetry, film, music, and possibly video games (depending on the outcome of the debate on whether video games should be considered art).

There would be some possible danger with this.  Great care would have to be taken so that monkey unions don’t crop up.  Some sort of monkey anti-defamation league is sure to arise.   With intelligent posturing, such uprisings could be quashed.

It is time to act.  With the state of distress the planet is in, we cannot afford to delay the advancement of good art.  Let us begin now to train our monkeys using robots to speed creation of art and maybe, just maybe, we can make this world a better place.