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I am looking for a short story where all the computer to computer communications were audible to humans. After being exposed to this for long enough the younger generations start creating music similar to the sounds of the computers and later begin to intuitively understand and speak the same protocol as the computers.

It may have been set in the asteroid belt. If I'm not mixing my old stories, plans for inter asteroid travel were encoded on audio tapes for playback and execution by the ships autopilot.

I read it in some sort of anthology of best sci fi stories, probably from the 70s-80s, about 15 years ago and haven't been able to find it since.

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  • Anyone old enough to have used a modem has heard computers communicating, and there are some who claimed to be able to tell the negotiated baud rate by listening to the "modem breath" prior to communications being established. This story is as much "science" as it is "fiction"... :)
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 20 at 15:41

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I am quite certain that this is "Incommunicado" by Katherine MacLean.

It's asked and answered and described in this question.

That was also a short question without a lot of detail, but everything matches.

where all the computer to computer communications were audible to humans.

The doctor indexed the space station computer with audible tones so he could track it by listening while working on something else.

All of Reynolds’ automatic ran on a frequency discrimination system, and Doc Reynolds had liked to hetrodyne them down to audible range so as to keep track of their workings. Every telephone and servo in the station worked to the tune of sounds like a chorus of canaries, and the people of the station had grown so used to the sound that they no longer heard it.

After being exposed to this for long enough the younger generations start creating music similar to the sounds of the computers and later begin to intuitively understand and speak the same protocol as the computers.

People on the station began interacting with the computer tones. Then they began imitating them without even being aware of the change. And, the change in their language works changes in them.

But Willy Gibbs stopped. “Hi, Cliff. Did you see the new movie? You fellows up around Pluto sure get the breaks.” Oddly the words came out in a strange singsong that robbed them of meaning.

And

The shoulder twitched again, reasonlessly, and kept on twitching as the ecologist’s voice became jerky. “It’s . . . risks . . . that . . . appeal to . . . them. Maybe I . . . should . . . write ... an article . . . about . . . my . . . man . . . eating . . . molds ... or reep beep tatatum la kikikinoo stup.”

The protagonist's young son Bill and the sullen young musician Archy change their communication radically. Everyone in the space station (maybe both stations, iirc) change their communication, and the very way they think changes at the deepest level.

The language was still in the simple association baby-babbling stage, not yet brought to consciousness as a language, not yet touching them with a fraction of its clarifying power, but it was raising their intelligence level.

It may have been set in the asteroid belt.

It is set on two interacting stations near Pluto, A and B.

I read it in some sort of anthology of best sci fi stories, probably from the 70s-80s, about 15 years ago and haven't been able to find it since.

It has been anthologized since 1950, and of course you could have read it in an old publication, but also it has been published until at least 2000. Most likely in "The Diploids" (I have a paperback copy) or "Analog: The Best of Science Fiction".

Katherine MacLean's stories aren't published nearly as much as they should be (I'm a big fan of her). I know from fifteen years of searching for this story that they are hard to find.

I hope you are still out there, still have access to your account, and find this answer.

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