My song Arthur the Lawn Mower is about our relationship with machines. In it, Arthur describes how he takes ‘a random path across the garden terrain’. It turns out that taking a random path through an unknown space is a very efficient way to understand the topography.

To someone used to taking a methodical approach to problem solving, starting off in a random direction may appear whimsical, but in an unknown territory, it may well be the optimal way to go.

Which is autonomous lawn mowers and vacuum cleaners take a random path (or as is close as possible for a machine) to map the space they are working in. (It is also how our free-range guinea pigs, which also autonomously mow the lawn, seem to explore their solution space).

As the chorus goes “we go zig zag zig zag zig zag zig, together who knows what we’ll find”

For more on this idea and the maths that underlies it, see James Bridle’s excellent book ‘Ways of Being’.

Bridle, J., 2022. *Ways of Being: Beyond Human Intelligence*. London: Allen Lane.