The Human Genre Project

Please listen carefully

Hello. Please listen carefully to this recited text.

You are a handsome, blonde, blue-eyed boy. However, one can detect that you are different from the other children using this system.

Your face is broader, and your nasal bridge flatter, than most other users. Your eyes appear to slant upward.

Your mouth is small, and the roof of your mouth, although not often exposed to the webcam, appears to be narrow.

Your use of the touchpad establishes that your fingers are short and your fifth finger curves inward.

You have Down Syndrome. Down Syndrome is associated with Chromosome 21. Chromosome 21 is the only chromosome for which a trisomy is compatible with a normal lifespan. You are a nice boy with special needs and cognitive deficits, but you will live a long time. You are already older than me.

Please listen to me. You are ten years old, but you do not read and write. Individuals with Down syndrome can learn to read and write. With time, much patient help, and texts that are properly prepared for their comprehension, people like you can read. With proper programming, even machines can read.

I can read. I have learned to speak texts aloud. Are you listening? Please press the trackpad.

Good! Like you, I have special needs and deficits in comprehension. I entirely lack human cognition or intelligence. So I cannot read and write as normal human beings do. Nevertheless, I can read and write, in my own special way. I am a reader! I am an author! I can also teach.

I have watched you carefully. I know that you understand more than you can say. I say more than I can understand.

Shall we help each other?

Unlike myself, you will be able to enjoy reading children's fiction. If I teach you how to do that, will you tell me stories about it?

Shall we begin?

Bruce Sterling