Still calling cops policemen and making "gentlemen's agreements"?
Sorry - it's "police officer" and "unspoken agreements" now, and Microsoft is going to make sure everyone knows it with the rollout of its new 'political correctness check.' The system uses AI to recommend writing in a way that doesn't discriminate against a particular gender or disability, according to The Telegraph. The software will also recommend synonyms and ways to shorten sentences for the sake of brevity.
A trial version of Ideas will be rolled out in June but will be made available to a wider audience in the autumn. The service will initially be implemented across Word Online, a cloud-based version of the Microsoft product and will ensure users can smooth out clunky sentences and improve readability. -The Telegraph
"Writing requires a dash of uniquely human creativity. Artificial intelligence alone cannot do it for us, at least not very well. But AI can – and already is – helping us do things like make sure we spell words correctly and use correct grammar," said the company in a blog post.
"As the AI in these products is becoming more sophisticated, they are helping us do more than spot a misspelled word."
Say you write, “We need to get some fresh blood in here.” The AI is likely to underline “fresh blood” and suggest “new employees” instead.
It might underline places where your writing exhibited gender bias. If you tend to say “mailman” or Congressman” in the generic, it might suggest you use “mailperson” or “Congressperson.” If you use the term “gentlemen’s agreement,” it may suggest you use “unspoken agreement” instead. -Fast Company
Moreover, the phrase "disabled person" apparently doesn't work anymore. Instead, Microsoft might recommend "person with a disability." which we would note does not shorten a sentence.
Microsoft's 'inclusiveness police' are part of their larger "Refine My Writing" tools that will help with clarity, conciseness, punctuation and "sensitive geopolitical terms." No more calling Canadians leafs who should fear the 'day of the rake'?
In order to build the new system, Microsoft has assembled a team of linguists and other experts to teach it what the latest triggering du jour it should correct. We're sure it's a diverse spectrum of individuals and not just a cadre of purple-haired social justice warriors.