For fans of auto-correct, here’s some cultural and kindly assistance.
On Tuesday, tech titan Google held its Google I/O developer conference.
Amid the meet, an announcement was made regarding the way people of the planet express themselves.
If you’ve been meaning to woke up…and if you love the predictive-text experience…the company’s got you covered.
As relayed by the Daily Mail, Google Docs will now suggest ways to avoid “offensive language.”
Offensive = Gendered
Northern California’s multinational behemoth will guide you toward inclusion.
The downside: It will direct you away from specificity, a major reason for the existence of words.
But no system’s perfect.
As examples of the new algorithm’s sensibilities, if you write of a “mailman,” it’ll become a “mail carrier.”
And if you reference a “chairman,” he’ll be transformed into a “chairperson.”
Google’s been trying to get things right for years.
In 2018, it removed gender pronouns from Gmail’s predictive text feature.
The reason: It didn’t want to cause offense.
From the Mail:
Google staff said at the time that the risk was too high that its ‘Smart Compose’ technology might predict someone’s sex or gender identity incorrectly.
The decision arrived following Gmail product manager Paul Lambert’s news of a company scientist discovering the malady.
Here’s how the researcher laid it out:
“‘I am meeting an investor next week, and Smart Compose suggested a possible follow-up question: ‘Do you want to meet him?’ instead of ‘her’.’”
In terms of terms, Google’s previously asked developers to employ the following ergonomic upgrades:
- crazy –> baffling
- dummy variable –> placeholder variable
- final sanity check –> final check for completeness and clarity
Of course, the company’s far from alone in its hope to change the world.
Broadly, the internet’s looking out for you.
Twitter recently announced it would add a second-guessing prompt to “potentially harmful or offensive” replies: It’ll ask you if you’re sure you want to post what you’ve written.
After testing and improving prompts that ask you to review a potentially harmful or offensive reply, we learned that this feature can help encourage more meaningful convos.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) May 5, 2021
And Facebook added a pop-up asking if you’ve actually read the article you’re about to share.
Starting today, we’re testing a way to promote more informed sharing of news articles. If you go to share a news article link you haven’t opened, we’ll show a prompt encouraging you to open it and read it, before sharing it with others. pic.twitter.com/brlMnlg6Qg
— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) May 10, 2021
Back to Google, the subsidiary’s making headway where racial diversity’s concerned as well.
By this fall — it reported at the conference — Pixel smartphones will better capture dark skin tones.
That’s a great thing.
Its ability to depict curly and wavy hair will also be improved.
Whatever the Silicon Valley mainstay decides, we can expect a profound result and surely a trickling effect onto other tech products.
Google, if you weren’t aware — is part of the Alphabet Inc. conglomerate.
According to MacroTrends, as of May 18th, Alphabet was worth $1516.23 billion.
Translating dollars to reach, that’s a whole lot of “mail persons,” “chairpersons” and other non-offensive, de-gendered language we’ll be seeing.
Alphabet Inc.’s Chief Executive — Sundar Pichai — clarified the group’s aim:
[Sundar] says he has made advocating for social justice a priority across the company.
And so it will be — across the company…and across the world.
So reports the Daily Mail.
Sorry — the Daily Person.
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