Google Docs has released a new update named assisted text to help users to have a better experience. The application aims to allow users to not only benefit from grammar, spelling, and style suggestions but also from precise recommendations to avoid the use of terms that are not considered inclusive.
While using the application, the system tries to detect inappropriate terms by alerting the user that the content may “not be inclusive of all readers”.
Once used, a lot of people who tried it found the app very restrictive and annoying to some extent. “ Landlord”, and “motherboard”, for instance, were two words there were described as non-inclusive terms although they were not in English.
According to the Entrepreneur Staff, the editors of the same site did some tests by transcribing excerpts from works or famous speeches to see what suggestions the tool made to them and the criterion does not seem to be very effective: the famous speech by Martin Luther King, “I Have a Dream” raised more flags that the transcript of an interview with Ku Klux Klan leader David Ernest Duke.
Google Docs spokesperson stated that the technology is constantly evolving: “Assisted typing uses language understanding models that are based on millions of sentences and common sentences to automatically learn how people communicate. This also means that they may reflect some human cognitive biases. Our technology is always improving, and we still don’t have (and may never) have a complete solution to identify and mitigate all spam and bias word associations.”
The Entrepreneur Staff explained that Although the assisted text function can be deactivated at any time and the system does not force the author to write in a certain way, the sensation that it gives is that it tries to regulate the way in which it is expressed. This case shows that despite how powerful it is, artificial intelligence and algorithms are still unable to differentiate and emulate some things that are natural to humans.