Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Meaning of Life

If I were a religious man I might believe that there's one truth in this world, known only to God (and perhaps Knuth also figured it out, but I digress).
If there really was such a one single truth, it should be possible (although perhaps not economical) to let a computer figure out what it is.
Someone once said that if you fill a room with monkey's and typewriters and give it enough time (and bananas!), eventually they will have written the collected works of shakespeare - I suppose this is the idea behind any brute force algorithm (although some might argue that given enough time the monkeys will have evolved into Shakespeare, but again I digress).
But it must be possible to speed up such a process....What if I custom-built the typewriters so they could only write real words that shakespeare used? And what if I had the almighty inspire the monkeys to which words should come in sequence? Perhaps I could shorten down the production time of my shakespeare - or the meaning of life...
So, eager to learn the true meaning of life (okay, who said "42" ?? shut up!) I devised the following plan:

  1. Gather a collection of quotes from some of the most clever men I can think of (e.g. Einstein, Decartes, Voltaire, Vonnegut & Twain).
  2. Calculate a Markov Chain over the bigrams in their sentences
  3. Fill in Divine interaction (in the shape of a random generator)
  4. Start to generate the meaning of life as random quotes

Now, the only problem I face is to determine when my generator actually comes across the meaning of life.... Good proposals can be posted here!

My "Meaning of Life" Random Quote Generator.

If you want to have a "quote of the day" on your website, feel free to use this javascript:

<SCRIPT TYPE="text/javascript"


Anonymous said...

Here's a couple of deeper meanings:
"Fiction is merely an asteroid"

"God is to us ignorant "

"It's no humor in Heaven "

"Good friends, good man, and misfortunes "

Allan Thræn said...

Here's a beauty I just saw myself:
"Doubt is called a college education"

Peter J. said...


actually a lot smarter than "42" what i just saw:

'Man is nothing against his answers'

that is one meaningful quote i'm gonna have to remember.

take care,


Allan Thræn said...

How about "Words are not wise". But now I'm all puzzled, if words are not wise, should I trust these?

glyn said...

Haha, I got this quote: "Some jerk infected the benefit of taking chances "

Nice application!

Peter J. said...

well, i'm 100% hooked now: "Any intelligent fool can enjoy life"


Jesper said...

How about "Everything is absurd." ;-)