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Why Mobile Autocorrect is Evil

All you need to do is a simple search, and you will find a plethora of funny and horrifying mobile autocorrect #fails. Is this just a “thing” we need to learn to live with? After all, technology changes fast, maybe autocorrect is just another one of “those things” we will tell our grandkids that we had to learn to accept… I think … NOT.

We have all experienced it: you hobble through and fix the three typos you notice (because Android or IOS or whatever highlights your typos), and after all that grief, you click the “send” button, only for your LAST WORD (which is misspelled) to get autocorrected auto-magically, and then your message is sent before you can react. These #facepalm moments seem like they could just be innocent, except Murphy’s Law tells us that anything that *can* go wrong, *WILL* go wrong — so of course autocorrect chooses the most horrifying and embarrassing possible choice of what you intended to say, rendering your message less than innocent or downright harmful.

Here are my top reasons why Autocorrect is Evil:

1. You hate it, but you just keep using it anyway.

Thats right, I said it. Maybe you even did a Google search on how to disable autocorrect. Maybe you even thought about turning it off. Maybe you are one of the few people that actually DID turn it off for a while, but like one of those annoying habits (smoking, binge watching Netflix, etc.), you eventually come back for more. Most of [us] don’t even try to quit.

2. It acts like it is our friend, but really wants to crotch block us.

Autocorrect sounds like an absolute delight! Wow, you mean I never have to worry about sending a message with a silly typo? That sure sounds great! And autocorrect delivers — making sure that none of the words you type get through as misspelled words. The only #fail is that it won’t pick the *friendly* word that is close to what you typed — it will pick the most damaging word that is kind of remotely sort of like what you started to type.

3. It convinces you that it makes you smarter, but really it just makes you dumber(er).

Smartphones are cool, and by definition, they should help you to at least appear to be more smart, right? Autocorrect is every busy person’s dream product. Now I only need to approximately spell this word right, and it will catch it! Yep. Only you are playing with fire. You want sparkly pretty perfectly written words, but you gambled with the wrong technology. When you expect it least, the fire of unimaginable misplaced word death will land on you. You might even be lucky enough to NOTICE it before somebody else does, giving you a chance to pick up what little bits remain of your dignity.

Luckily us #smart people choose to entrust our dignity and professional lives to an autonomous autocorrect technology with no real brain, emotions or cognitive thought. Wait, that doesn’t sound smart. That sounds #dumbish.

4. It saves you time, only it doesn’t.

How many times has this happened to you: You are busy, because “of course you are…” and you receive a text message that you MUST reply to. You think “this will only take a moment, but its important, so I have to reply NOW.” Now this short, quickly written text message or email **should** have only taken a moment, except for some insane reason, every word you try to type is all wrong. You notice a typo, and try to go fix the one letter that is wrong, except #POOF, the word is autocorrected to something completely different and wrong. #ugh So you try again. It happens again! Next word, and for some reason you just can’t get to the middle of that word to fix it, it highlights the whole word. You #tap #tap #tap and get frustrated, #ugh, people notice you struggling, and you feel the vein in your forehead start to pound… After a grueling battle to get the 6 correct words in, you get calm and start the last word. Uh oh, Murphy’s law is invoked. And the last word, that you ALMOST got right… well, you already hit “send” and the damage is done. #Thanks autocorrect, that *WAS* a time saver.

5. Autocorect learns how to be better, and like humans, you “are” what you “eat.”

Of course it does, Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are supposed to do that, right? Of course if you put horrible data into an AI or ML model, you don’t exactly get good stuff back out. So of course we feed our smartphones a steady diet of idiotic misused words that are out of context. No data scientist will tell you that a an AI or ML can get smart by feeding it dumb data. If you feel dumb for thinking that your smartphone will get smarter when you give it dumb messages to send, that sounds about right. Not just you, me also. (Where do you think the idea for this blog came from?)

6. Autocorrect comes from your favorite companies, who just want to “help you,” except they don’t.

Apple, Google and Microsoft love to give you stuff. Free email, free apps, free cloud storage. Free Free Free. There couldn’t possibly be any ulterior motives, right? These companies got big because people like us paid them lots of money. The only reason to give us free swag is to gain our trust and give them more money. Oh, and those free products? The collect heaps of data from, and either use ti to learn how to sell you more products, or sell it to customers for a profit.

“Companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft enjoy working to build free products and improve your life with no expectation of anything in return.” said nobody, ever in the tech industry.

If they really wanted to help, how come after years of horrific autocorrect #fails, the autocorrect technology isn’t better? Hmm.

7. International. My goodness, just don’t even try.

I’m American, but I live in southeast Asia, where, you know, they speak a whole different language. As a good resident, I am learning the language. Of course, my phone cannot have TWO default languages, so anything I write in a foreign language is automagically changed to a horribly embarrassing incorrect English word. Thanks autocorrect, thanks for not even trying.

Paucis verbis:

Ok, so there you have it, my top reasons why I think autocorrect is evil. If you read all these and agree with some of them, but still leave autocorrect enabled (like most us us), then see #1.

Do we have to “just learn to live with it?” I’m not sure. I write these words as social commentary and as a public service, so don’t judge me if I don’t live up to them myself.



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Andrew Schwäbe

Andrew Schwäbe

I’m an Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, crypto type of guy. Oh, and guitarist. And foodie. And philanthropist. Maybe more, check back later.