Sunday, 15 February 2015

Censorship Gone Mad?

For the most part, my opinions are pretty well set. This is not to say that I will not change them based on evidence or a stream of logical insights, but the process of changing opinion is relatively long and gradual for me. It is very rarely then that an idea or different perspective shocks me into reevaluating my own preconceived ideas. One such moment came when I read a libertarian write that autocorrect is a censorship device.

Is the iPhone trying to stop your potty mouth?

Initially, I thought that this was ridiculous. But then I read on. He reasoned that because autocorrect won't automatically correct misspelled swear words, it is a censorship device that tries to prevent swearing. Personally, that autocorrect doesn't work on swear words is a source of enormous frustration. Indeed, one colleague of mine remarked to me that her friends had just accepted "ducking" as a perfectly legitimate swear word.

As yet, I haven't made my mind up about this. Part of me finds it somewhat insidious that a group antisocial men wearing skivvies and jeans in Palo Alto have decided that swearing is too risqué to be autocorrected. It also makes me wonder what other words have been restricted by the algorithm. At the moment, I'm not sure. I'll leave it up to you guys to come up with your own answers. Is it really all that bad?

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