Jump to content
Medic

The Library of Babel

Recommended Posts

4 minutes ago, TheOnlyGuyEver said:

I don't get it.

It's basically an archive of the infinite monkey theorem results.

 

I like the idea of it but it really just comes down to you finding a really long string of nothing surrounding your one search result.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, A 1970 Corvette said:

It's basically an archive of the infinite monkey theorem results.

 

I like the idea of it but it really just comes down to you finding a really long string of nothing surrounding your one search result.

The idea comes from the Jorge Luis Borges story of the same name.  In the story itself the futility of the library is discussed: since all possible strings of text (of the right length) are represented in the library all possible works of literature, science, philosophy and mathematics are included within it.  However, for every such work there are more examples where the work is faithfully included, except for some subtle lies added to it, and even more that contain truth followed by a sudden decent into gibberish.  Thus while all truths expressible within the given length are included and it is impossible to verify that one finds something that seems sensible that it is not a lie or nonsense.  As such the very fact that the library is infinite causes it to not only possess all truths, but also thwarts its ability to communicate those truths.

 

This is a good example of the problems you run into when looking for meaningful information.

 

 

If the site really has put all combinations of the characters in the library, then there should be examples where works far longer than 3200 characters appear faithfully, and works where lies are repeated.  I assume that the character limit was put into place because it would take too long to find such examples.

 

In the universe of the story this realization causes some of the inhabitants of the library to commit suicide, while others hope to find new truths in rare books in spite of the inherent problems with this endeavors.

 

Borges plays around with similar ideas in many of his stories.

 

EDIT: It linked to the wrong page, let me try this again.

Edited by Gyokuyoutama

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

2 hours ago, Gyokuyoutama said:

-snip-

Aren't you going to give credit to the Library of Babel, from where you clearly stole this post?

 

I love this site. I used to send pages containing my friend's fanfictions and remind them they need to give credit for plagiarizing their story from this website. I mean, look, the Library's been carrying that exact text since May 2015, how can you claim you just wrote your fanfiction last night? 

Edited by aabicus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

I love this site. I used to send pages containing my friend's fanfictions and remind them they need to give credit for plagiarizing their story from this website. I mean, look, this website's been carrying that exact text since May 2015, how can you claim you just wrote your fanfiction last night? 

Sorry, but that's not particularly creative. I feel like you've read it in a book or something.

Granted, the entirety of this response is also unoriginal and sourced from the same text, so I guess originality was preemptively considered by the very source from whence it came.

Edited by ToasterToastin'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

how do we know this website isn't just concatenating what we enter into random strings of text?

 

ELI5 pls

 

 

EDIT: I just re-read the original post. Medic mentions it.

 

EDIT EDIT: There's some debate on the website's forum, but supporters say the text is generated in some part with your search, but the text itself is decided by an algorithm that uses variables that also appear as the page, book number, shelf, "hexagon", etc. So putting those same variables in to the algorithm would generate the same page. So that random generation would then be easily "searchable" with those same variables, and somebody flipping through the pages one by one would find the same content at the same location as someone who searches.

 

if true, neat.

Edited by Expresate

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Expresate said:

how do we know this website isn't just concatenating what we enter into random strings of text?

 

ELI5 pls

 

 

EDIT: I just re-read the original post. Medic mentions it.

You can go in on a fresh browser and pull up the results, if you know where to look.

 

For example, go page 105 in the book entitled tmd.jfssklayj on shelf 3 of wall 2 of hexagon 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

 

(yeah, you have to go to that exact hexagon, I can't shorten that part unfortunately).

 

You'll find the "almost Declaration of Independence" that I linked to.

 

I guess you could argue that maybe the book was only generated after I did the search, and that once it was generated it was stored in the site forever, but once you're keeping track of that many generated books it seems simpler to just use an algorithm to actually guarantee that all possible sequences are generated before anyone searches anything.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×