I’m turning off auto-correct on all my devices
There is not one time in my life that I’ve typed the word “fuck” with the intention of writing “duck.” Not one time. I don’t know if I’ve ever used the word “ducking” in ordinary conversation. (“I’m ducking from the police, yo.”) But my iPhone and iPad seem to think these words are ordinary parts of my vocabulary. To that, I say, “duck off!”
Shit! I mean “fuck off!”
I’ve just killed my auto-correct function and I already feel so free.
I, like most people my age and older, never had an auto-correct feature growing up. I had to know how to spell words and if I didn’t I had to look up the words in a dictionary, or, better yet, use a more familiar word. But today, people are growing (or growing up) spoiled with ideas like “right-click thesaurus” and auto-correct believing, somehow, that this will make whatever they are writing seem more intelligent, I guess.
The latest versions of iOS have taken this idea to an extreme. About a year ago, Apple introduced a feature in which the user’s device suggested what word to put next. (Try it if you haven’t. I just typed the word “My” and hit the first of the three words auto-suggest suggested and came up with this 12-word masterpiece: “My dad just called my mom and I don’t think it’s funny.) The latest version of iOS, introduced in September, seems like it introduced auto-correct on steroids. I can’t type a damn sentence without having to shake my phone to undo an auto-correct or to go back and re-type a word because the undo option isn’t available. There also seems to be a bug that doesn’t allow a user to click off a word that iOS has deemed to be spelled incorrectly.
While all of this is annoying, this is not the real reason why I’m shutting off my auto-correct.
I’m shutting it off because my words matter to me. Each and every word I write comes from me, not from some algorithm some computer genius cooked up. When I say, “fuck,” I mean it. I know what the connotation of the word and how it is shocking to some. But I use the word to shock. Who is iOS to suggest to me that I use the word “duck” instead?
Computer programmers (the auto-correct on my Mac is suggesting I meant “programmes” here. WTF?(And this use of “WTF” is meant ironically)) are all well-intentioned when they develop features like auto-correct and right-click thesaurus for convenience. It is annoying to receive an essay full of misspelled words because of a student’s laziness. But it is more annoying to receive an essay full of words the students have no idea how to use.
These features also cheapen language. Humans are the only species on earth, the only species in the known universe for that matter, to use written language. Isn’t it more important to learn how to use that language than have some device tell you you’re using it wrong?
Maybe, like George Orwell said, “English language is in a bad way.” The use of devices to constantly correct what we are writing or to think of a better way to say something lessons our abilities to communicate. But this decline in our abilities to communicates reduces our abilities to be humans. Maybe our disrespect for our language is one of the many reasons why politics in the world have degenerated into cliché and name-calling versus actual dialogue and conversation. (Yes, there’s Fox News, too.)
Twitter has already shortened debate and conversation to 140 characters, let’s not let a computer algorithm limit the words we use too.