(SN) — Google’s document editor will begin to correct the language of what people type to be more ‘inclusive’, according to a report in the Telegraph.
The article, headlined Big Brother (sorry, Big Person) is correcting you on Google, outlines how the company is to implement ‘inclusive warnings’ on Google Docs, suggesting that users refrain from using terms such as ‘policeman’ or ‘landlord’, because they are gendered.
The warnings will alert users that what they have typed “may not be inclusive to all readers,” while suggesting users should “Consider using different words,” offering woke corrections like ‘police officer’ or ‘property owner’.
The report notes, however, that even technical terms like ‘motherboard’ fall prey to Google’s woke correction.
When Googling John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech, Google suggests that it should be corrected to ‘for all humankind’ instead of ‘for all mankind’.
Critics hit out at Google attempting to police and change language, with Silkie Carlo, the director of rights group Big Brother Watch, calling it “deeply intrusive.”
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“With Google’s new assistive writing tool, the company is not only reading every word you type but telling you what to type,” she noted.
“This speech-policing is profoundly clumsy, creepy and wrong, often reinforcing bias. Invasive tech like this undermines privacy, freedom of expression and increasingly freedom of thought,” Carlo added.
Lazar Radic, a senior scholar in economic policy at the International Centre for Law and Economics, noted that “Not only is this incredibly conceited and patronising – it can also serve to stifle individuality, self-expression, experimentation, and – from a purely utilitarian perspective – progress.”
Radic explained, “What if ‘landlord’ is the better choice because it makes more sense, narratively, in a novel? What if ‘house owner’ sounds wooden and fails to invoke the same sense of poignancy? What if the defendant really was a ‘housewife’ – and refers to herself as such? Should all written pieces – including written forms of art, such as novels, lyrics, and poetry – follow the same, boring template?”
The feature on Google Docs, which could easily be shifted over to its search engine, is now on by default for what the company has termed ‘enterprise-level users’.
Google has stated that “Assisted writing uses language understanding models, which rely on millions of common phrases and sentences to automatically learn how people communicate. This also means they can reflect some human cognitive biases.”
So here we have Google literally taking on the role of the Ministry of Truth from Orwell’s 1984, policing language and making sure that its Newspeak is implemented whenever necessary.
That novel was a dystopian warning, not an instructional manual.