Google claims that it has deactivated a function within its document editor that corrected language to make it more inclusive. At the time of the pause, Google claimed it was temporary while the technology was refined to make it perform more successfully.
The addition of ‘inclusive warnings’ in Google Docs, which operate as a language checker, was tested. The warnings urge that users avoid using gendered keywords such as “policeman” or “landlord,” as well as “fierce” and “annoyed,” as they are perceived to be threatening.
Critics likened the move to Orwell’s 1984, in which the Ministry of Truth is in charge of monitoring language and ensuring that Newspeak is deployed whenever it is appropriate. (Interestingly, some of the critics had rainbow flags in their bios, symbolic of their support of LBGT causes.)
As a result of the backlash, Google has temporarily suspended the function.
According to the publication, inclusive language suggestions—an aided writing feature—can over or undercorrect some terms, according to Google spokesperson Jenny Thomson.
Google said they’re taking a closer look at the inclusive language ideas and have put them on hold until we can conduct a more thorough analysis while we work to improve this functionality.
Thomson admitted that the feature is “a type of artificial intelligence that employs language recognition models, based on millions of frequent words and sentences, to learn how people interact and recommend improvements automatically.”
It was a scary revelation.
As Silkie Carlo of Big Brother Watch said, Google’s new word warnings aren’t just invasive; they’re downright dangerous.
She added that this speech-policing is profoundly clumsy, creepy, and wrong, with the result being that the bias it’s purportedly correcting is often reinforced.
Years of fighting for gender-neutral terminology and against racial discrimination and the more recent worries about the influence of our vocabulary on how we identify individuals have resulted in the language the system favors today.
“Crewed” instead of “manned.”
“Deny list” instead of “blacklist.”
“Housewife” and even a computer “motherboard” have been flagged as not being inclusive by the new system.