After Backlash, Google Turns Off ‘Newspeak’ Correction Tool (For Now)
Google claims that it has disabled a feature within its document editor that was correcting language to make it ‘more inclusive’, but only while it refines the tool to make it work more effectively.
As we reported Monday, Google Docs was trialling ‘inclusive warnings’, which act like a language checker, suggesting that users refrain from using terms such as ‘policeman’ or ‘landlord’, because they are gendered, and words like ‘fierce’ and ‘annoyed’ for being threatening.
Critics (even ones with rainbow flags in the bio) compared the move to the Ministry of Truth from Orwell’s 1984, policing language and making sure that its Newspeak is implemented whenever necessary.
Fully automated newspeak.https://t.co/2mSkvRQ1T5
— dickcomley 🇭🇰 (@ComleyRitchie) April 25, 2022
“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”
– George Orwellhttps://t.co/D9An9jPgOc
— Debbie Hayton 🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈 (@DebbieHayton) April 25, 2022
Now, following the backlash, The Daily Wire notes that Google is pausing the tool.
Google spokeswoman Jenny Thomson told the outlet that “inclusive language suggestions—an assisted writing feature—can over or undercorrect certain phrases. We’re looking more carefully at the inclusive language suggestions and have paused those for further review while we continue to improve this feature.”
In a creepy admission, Thomson noted that the feature is “a form of AI that uses language understanding models, based on millions of common phrases and sentences, to automatically learn how people communicate and suggest changes.”
In comments to the Telegraph, Big Brother Watch’s Silkie Carlo urged that “Google’s new word warnings aren’t assistive, they’re deeply intrusive,” adding that “This speech-policing is profoundly clumsy, creepy and wrong, often reinforcing bias.”
The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible.
There was no vocabulary expressing the function of Science as a habit of mind, or a method of thought irrespective of its particular branches. There was, indeed, no word for ‘Science,’ any meaning that it could possibly bear being already sufficiently covered by the word Ingsoc.
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Thu, 04/28/2022 – 17:20