The Annoyance of Autocorrect

atkins bookshelf wordsThere was a time when typographical errors were due to old-fashioned ignorance. Today, a gremlin lurks beneath the keyboard of every digital device, causing even the most well-educated, excellent speller to become a completely annoyed, bumbling, embarrassed fool. Once the victim realizes the work of the gremlin, he or she scrambles to correct the embarrassing or offensive message; and in haste, often compounds the absurdity or the original autocorrected message. It can be a vicious cycle…

Although most people believed that the justifiably maligned autocorrect checks words against a comprehensive dictionary, it actually uses a unique probabilistic algorithm to guess what word you meant by quickly accessing a list of a subset of words that people typically type, factoring in context. The algorithm not only analyzes probabilities about word usage, but it is dynamic, learning from experience. Regardless of autocorrect’s intelligence, it is universally annoying. The following story illustrates the double-edge sword of the technology that everyone relies on each day, but loves to hate:

A man’s conscience was troubling him so after some deep reflection, he sent his next-door neighbor a text around dinner time: “Tom, I’m so sorry. I’ve been riddled with guilt and I have a confession to make. I have been helping myself to your wife when you’re not home. And I have been doing it quite often because I don’t get it at home. I know it’s no excuse; but I can’t live any longer with the guilt. I hope you will be able to forgive me.” Upon reading the message, Tom was immediately outraged by the betrayal; he marched into the kitchen and shouted, “I demand a divorce!” Caught completely off guard, Tom’s wife burst into tears. All of a sudden Tom’s phone vibrated as a new text message came in: “LOL. Stupid autocorrect! I meant to type ‘wi-fi'”

Read related posts: What is an Auto-Antonym?
What is the Longest Word in English Language?
Word Oddities: Fun with Vowels

What is an Abecedarian Insult?
Difficult Tongue Twisters

 

For further reading: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/opinion/sunday/auto-correct-this.html

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