Project Gutenberg, Microsoft and MIT using AI to produce open access audio books

In 1971, before anything like the internet as we know it, a young man called Michael Hart produced the first e-book with the help of some extraordinary early tech friends. This became the first digital library, including books like the Bible and the works of Homer and Shakespeare, all of which he made available for anyone to download via his Project Gutenberg (PG).

Hart died in 2011. He and PG’s mission statement was:

“Encourage the Creation and Distribution of eBooks”
“Help Break Down the Bars of Ignorance and Illiteracy”
“Give As Many eBooks to As Many People As Possible”

Hart’s vision of free, unlimited access to the world’s literature has resulted in a partnership with Microsoft and MIT in an AI project to narrate thousands of open-access and copyright-free books with synthetic voices and make them available online.

The entire catalogue can be found here. The collection is also available via Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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