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Google Rolling Out Function Forcing ‘Inclusive Language’ on Users

Google Rolling Out Function Forcing ‘Inclusive Language’ on Users

“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.”

Google started rolling out a new function called “assistive writing” that prompts users to use inclusive language.

I’ve noticed this in Grammarly. It’s irritating. From The Telegraph:

Among the words it objects to are “landlord” – which Google says “may not be inclusive to all readers” and should be changed to “property owner” or “proprietor” – and “mankind”, which it wants changed to “humankind”.

The tool suggests more gender-inclusive phrasing, such as changing “policemen” to “police officers”, and replacing “housewife” with “stay-at-home-spouse”.

But it also objects to the technical term “motherboard” – used for a printed circuit board containing the principal components of a computer or other device.

If a writer uses these and other terms a message pops up stating “Inclusive warning. Some of these words may not be inclusive to all readers. Consider using different words.”

What if we’re talking only about policemen or firemen? If the group contains women, use police officers or firefighters. Why would anyone call a man who stays at home a housewife? While checking this piece, Grammarly suggested I use police officers and firefighters.

Google Docs has not given me the assistive writing tool yet. I opened and tried to use sex-based words (don’t say gender) and didn’t get a prompt from Google.

At least with Grammarly, I choose to allow it to look at my writing. The assistive writing tool is automatically turned on, which means Google knows what you’re typing:

Silkie Carlo, the director of Big Brother Watch, told The Telegraph: “Google’s new word warnings aren’t assistive, they’re deeply intrusive. With Google’s new assistive writing tool, the company is not only reading every word you type but telling you what to type.

“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.”

But it goes farther than sex-based words:

At Motherboard, senior staff writer Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai typed “annoyed” and Google suggested he change it to “angry” or “upset” to “make your writing flow better.” Being annoyed is a completely different emotion than being angry or upset—and “upset” is so amorphous, it could mean a whole spectrum of feelings—but Google is a machine, while Lorenzo’s a writer.

I mean…

Samantha Cole at Vice is all for inclusive writing. But Cole points out the problems with Google’s new tool:

But words do mean things; calling landlords “property owners” is almost worse than calling them “landchads,” and half as accurate. It’s catering to people like Howard Schultz who would prefer you not call him a billionaire, but a “person of means.” On a more extreme end, if someone intends to be racist, sexist, or exclusionary in their writing, and wants to draft that up in a Google document, they should be allowed to do that without an algorithm attempting to sanitize their intentions and confuse their readers. This is how we end up with dog whistles.

Thinking and writing outside of binary terms like “mother” and “father” can be useful, but some people are mothers, and the person writing about them should know that. Some websites (and computer parts) are just called Motherboard. Trying to shoehorn self-awareness, sensitivity, and careful editing into people’s writing using machine learning algorithms—already deeply flawed, frequently unintelligent pieces of technology—is misguided. Especially when it’s coming from a company that’s grappling with its own internal reckoning in inclusivity, diversity, and mistreatment of workers who stand up for better ethics in AI.

I’m all for not forcing racists to water down their language. Let them be blunt, so I know to avoid them. Changing their words doesn’t change their heart and mind.

But actual racists and hateful people are the only ones who need to change. Those of us who understand real science don’t need to change. What might seem insensitive to others is not insensitive to the vast majority. But hey we must cater and coddle the very few who throw a temper tantrum because someone used policemen instead of police officers.

But then there’s the grammar aspect of it all. It happens to me with Grammarly. When it suggests a fix that doesn’t need it I accidentally press “change.” Or someone might allow the tool to change everything, leaving them with a piece watered down and filled with words that change the meaning of sentences.

Cole hopes Google will improve its assistive writing tool as more people respond to it. Something tells me Google will only fix the vocabulary concerns, not the wokeness concerns.


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2smartforlibs | April 26, 2022 at 5:15 pm

I hate their AI garbage telling you what it thinks you need to say.

I say BS. If you give them your speech, they have already won

Don’t do it screw them

Google what-now? I use LibreOffice.

    geronl in reply to McGehee. | April 26, 2022 at 5:36 pm

    Me too. It’s immoral to try and control what others say or think like that.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to McGehee. | April 26, 2022 at 6:38 pm

    If I could get libre office to print an envelope on my brother printer properly, I would use it. I’ve tried everything but standing on my head. And no, I don’t think that will help

      amatuerwrangler in reply to The Gentle Grizzly. | April 26, 2022 at 7:51 pm

      I gave up and just print a label…… I can also hand print well enough that even USPS can read it. I don’t know why L-O does it that way. For some reason they do not think anyone would need to just print an envelope. Otherwise, LibreOffice is just fine. If you seriously butcher a spelling, the suggested “correct” spellings can be hilarious.

JohnSmith100 | April 26, 2022 at 6:08 pm

Google taught me something, well more like reinforced it, any company who claims it is not evil likely will be incredibly evil.

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to JohnSmith100. | April 26, 2022 at 6:40 pm

    That, or, claiming to be a good[insert religious affiliation here]- based company.

    Arminius in reply to JohnSmith100. | April 29, 2022 at 5:07 pm

    Yes, any group of people who have to remind themselves not to be evil have to be thinking a lot about evil.

    If a pre-school adopts a motto, “Don’t rape the little kids” would you trust your child to the staff who thought to come up with that gem?

Diversity (i.e. color judgment, class-based bigotry), Inequity, and Exclusion (DIE)… A Pro-Choice “ethical” religious dogma.

That said, diversity of individuals, minority of one. Women and men are equal in rights and complementary in Nature/nature.

Inclusive: Baby Lives Matter (BLM)

Before I log on I have to identify which pictures have sidewalks to verify I’m human. If a computer can’t even identify which pictures have sidewalks, how the hell is it gonna help me with my grammar?

chrisboltssr | April 26, 2022 at 6:40 pm

None of this is progress. It’s all regression to something… whatever that is the progs never let us know.

The Gentle Grizzly | April 26, 2022 at 6:41 pm

I bet corporate users of Google Docs will not have this in Forest on them. Not because they’re corporations, but because Google wants to maintain that revenue stream.

    I’m a Fantasy/SF writer and I always have a bit of a tussle with Google Docs being ‘helpful’ with suggestions. At least it finally points out where I double small words, which has been a constant problem over the the last ten years.

Juris Doctor | April 26, 2022 at 7:01 pm

Microsoft word has the inclusive language BS embedded in the proofing settings.

Juris Doctor | April 26, 2022 at 7:03 pm

DEI kooks are strangely averse to diversity of thought.

Censorship of words is idiotic. The actual racists will just use new words, usually before the ink has dried on the censorship declaration.

“But it also objects to the technical term “motherboard”
“At Motherboard, senior staff writer Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai typed “annoyed”

I’d be annoyed, too, if Google bitched at me everytime I typed my own company name!

healthguyfsu | April 26, 2022 at 7:31 pm

Allow me to offer you a workaround until they fix it,

Upload a word document to google and when you open it, it opens in office compatibility mode. I can almost guarantee this assistive writing tool won’t work in this compatibility mode as many features do not. If you are used to working with word, this mode can be quite functional although it admittedly has flaws.

This is only meant to be a practical statement and not a statement on the egregious oversight that google is enforcing on its users (remember that users are the product, though, not the customer, and I’m sure some progfasc thinktank is going to want to lap this data right up)

These people playing games with our language are petty, meddlesome, and, worst of all, utterly provincial, in that they think that only the views of “woke”[?] Americans matter.

When I was a teen, a kindly lady teacher told us all about pronoun agreement, hence “When someone is in trouble, help him–not ‘them'”. She pointed out that the masculine does double duty for the gender ambiguous or neuter. Should we boys have risen up in arms over being made “grammatical eunuchs”.? Nonsense. In any case, the masculine gender does this double duty in many Indo-European and Semitic languages. Further, nobody would accuse traditional Chinese culture of sexual egalitarianism, yet before 1919, Chinese did not gender its pronouns; and afterwards only distinguished gender in written forms.

We’ve surrendered our language and culture to ignorant yokels–and yokels thanks, perhaps, to expensive supposed “educations” at supposedly prestige institutitions.

    Arminius in reply to Kepha H. | April 28, 2022 at 8:04 pm

    “…We’ve surrendered our language and culture to ignorant yokels…”

    I disagree. Sure, a lot of the people who are for banning some speech while mandating other speech are in fact ignorant. But the people who came up with the concept knew exactly what they were doing.

    When certain words can’t be spoken, then certain thoughts can’t be thought. Or if someone uses those un-PC thoughts they are considered beyond the pale of decency.

I’ve grown to really like Jarte for creative writing. It’s an overlay for Wordpad that adds some handy formatting and spell checking features, and saves stuff in *.rtf format. Very simple, very lightweight.

One thing I’ve discovered I really like is, spell check is a command rather than always on. That way, if I’m in a flow, I just type without little red squiggles interrupting me every time I fat finger a word.

Do have to vacuum it into Word for edits and change tracking, but I find the first draft always seems to be the hardest part.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair | April 26, 2022 at 10:27 pm

What if we’re talking only about policemen or firemen? If the group contains women, use police officers or firefighters.

Of course, when you are using women as policemen and firemen your society is already too sick and stupid to save.

I think that Google and other leftists need to buy some professional sports teams and stock them up 50% with women. That’ll show the troglodytes how women are just as good as men in physical tasks.

Women cops are a joke and women firemen are beyond ridiculous., and the society that acts as if these obvious truths weren’t so is not long for this world … and shouldn’t be.

    I’m going to catch hell for what I’m about to say, but it’s not like anyone commenting or posting here would recognize me on the street so…

    Your society is heading for the compost heap when you legalize same sex marriage. Because at that point you have decided that biology just doesn’t matter. And if biology doesn’t matter, your society has stubbornly decided that there’s no such thing as objective reality. But objective reality is a real thing, and it will come back to cave in your skull.

    “In facing this existential challenge, a downward spiral in which Europeans seem to be slowly dying out by failing to reproduce, it seems that Europe has also lost all confidence in its hard-won Enlightenment values, such as personal freedoms, reason and science replacing superstition, and the separation of church and state. These are critical if Europe truly wishes to survive.

    In Western Germany, 42% of children under the age of six now come from a migrant background, according to Germany’s Federal Statistical Office, as reported by Die Welt…”

    Note they don’t say what “migrant background” we’re talking about. Which is why I think marriage should be important to gay people. And marriage shouldn’t be redefined to the point where children are no longer the central point of marriage.

    This shouldn’t be controversial. In Europe there have been gay politicians who have figured this out. A country isn’t like an airport departure lounge, where it doesn’t matter that the population changes every couple of hours. When you start importing a breeding population from the Muslim world because you want to retire at 50 and have workers to fund your welfare benefits but your nation is producing children below replacement level (four grandparents produce one man and one woman, who turn out one designer child, isn’t a sustainable model) you wind up with an entirely different country. I’ve pointed this out to gay/lesbian friends. I wasn’t opposed to SSM because I hated gays and lesbians. I was watching how things were progressing in Europe and decided it would be a sad day when the continent went Sharia compliant and it was legal to throw gays off of tall buildings like they do in Gaza or hang them from cranes like they do in Iran.

    You might still have a city named Amsterdam. But it won’t be anything like it is today. It’ll look more like Tehran. And the thing is the Muslim world knows this. I was reading an article the other day in which an Iranian official was saying in a few decades you’ll have to go to a museum to see an ethnic Englishman.

Google knows what you’re typing

It’s a web app. Google has always known what you’re typing.

Why, oh why do conservatives refuse to learn how the Internet works?

“Land owner” reminds me of slavery.
Police officer” still has “police.”
“Humankind” still has “man.”

I’m completely triggered now.

UnCivilServant | April 27, 2022 at 7:49 am

I bailed before I ever got started with Google Docs. Because I read their terms and conditions. At the time I read it, Section 11 gave Google the right to do whatever they pleaded with anything and everything you created in the software. Not a chance I’m agreeing to that. I write and sell books, I’m not giving them away to a giant corporation just to use a subpar editor.

E Howard Hunt | April 27, 2022 at 8:18 am

No one should have his writing altered.

Google is evil.

Whoever uses gmail and the like is looking for trouble