PC alternatives suggested by software
Nothing to do with Madeira, but in a sign of the woke times that I for one abhor, Microsoft has introduced a political correctness tool to help users make their writing more “inclusive”.
The BBC reports that the new Word feature, which is also on some of Microsoft’s web-based applications, will offer tips to users by highlighting phrases or words that might cause offence. In its latest version of Office 365, a purple line appears beneath written copy that the software deems might “imply bias”, with alternatives offered.
The woke feature, an addition to the software’s spelling and grammar-checking tools, looks for age bias, cultural bias, gender-specific language, sexual orientation bias and socioeconomic status. Fortunately, the option can be switched off.
The line Neil Armstrong uttered when he stepped on the Moon — “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” — is deemed problematic by the software, which suggests changing “mankind” to “humankind” or “humanity”, whilst the children’s cartoon Postman Pat also fails the inclusivity test, with the software preferring “mail carrier” Pat or “postal worker” Pat.
The software also offers to tweak Billy Paul’s 1970s hit Me and Mrs Jones to a more modern Me and Ms Jones, while Barry Manilow’s infamous Lola in the song Copacabana might more appropriately be referred to as a performing artist rather than a showgirl.
Other words where changes are suggested include “headmaster” (Word suggests “principal”), “master” (“expert”), “manpower” (“workforce”) and “heroine” (“hero”).
Woke tool intended to eliminate bias
According to a piece on the Microsoft website, the tool was developed for those who want to “eliminate biases based on gender, age, ability and more”. Native speakers and linguistic experts have been hired in every country to advise on its language suggestions.
Sumit Chauhan, Microsoft corporate vice president for engineering in Office, said that the goal was not to correct all of society’s problems but to highlight potential blind spots. “In our products, we want to be thoughtful about stereotypes in the world and to make sure our AI is not reinforcing or amplifying those.”
The Daily Mail reports that “showgirl, mankind, whitewash and blacklist are just some of the words that don’t make it past Microsoft Word’s new woke filter”.
Microsoft’s woke bias comes hot on the heels of reports of the ‘Woke’ BBC responding to criticism for censoring Chewin’ The Fat
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