Human Readable By Cory Doctorow (With A Little Help Chapter 6)

Book Cover by Rick Lieder

A few days ago, Cory Doctorow released his first self-published short story collection titled With A Little Help.

Cory has always released his books under the Creative Commons open license, which allows his readers to share and re-mix his books. This time around Doctorow is experimenting in self-publishing the book in a number of different formats from free text and audio podcast, through an audio CD book, to a limited edition hard cover physical book.

In my opinion, together with Charlie Stross, Cory Doctorow is among the most prolific and visionary science fiction writers of our generation. Amazingly, his prolific writing seems to improve, rather than dilute the quality of his work, and With A Little Help is a good example of that. The book contains 12 previously published short stories, as well as one new one – Epoch, which was commissioned by the Ubuntu project‘s Mark Shuttleworth.

You can click any of the title links above and visit his book’s home page for more information on how to buy a copy, or, you can download the full text for free here.

Finally, every day for the next 2 weeks, I will be publishing a free chapter of his audio book as a daily special podcast feature for Singularity 1 on 1.

Today I am posting Chapter 6 – Human Readable.

Human Readable was written by Cory to show off in front of his then girlfriend — and now wife — Alice. In it, Doctorow is counterposing 2 ground-breaking ideas: self-optimizing emergent systems (such as ant colonies) and legible computing (i.e. a democratized computing where the results can be interpreted by anyone, including non-experts).

Each of those ideas is brilliant in its own right but seemingly they can’t coexist peacefully, or can they?!…

…In my opinion this is emotionally the most moving story from the book…

(As always, you can stream the podcast or download the mp3 file in full.)

Enjoy!