Microsoft Is Making Word Politically Correct

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Some say people are easily offended these days, especially by what they read. Microsoft evidently shares that sentiment, as the company has introduced an addition to future versions of Word that will ensure writing is politically correct.

Dubbed “Ideas for Word,” the feature uses the power of AI to not only check for grammatical staples such as “clarity” and “conciseness,” but also for “formality” and “inclusiveness.” In one example given by Fast Company, an insensitive phrase such as “fresh blood” would be replaced by “new employees,” while “mailperson” would override “mailman” to avoid gender bias.

The AI will even check for ”sensitive geopolitical terms” to prevent writing that may be offensive to international audiences or other cultures. Experienced writers who can’t bear to see any more squiggly underlines can simply turn the feature off in settings.

It might underline places where your writing exhibited gender bias. If you tend to say “mailman” or Congressman” in the generic, it might suggest you use “mailperson” or “Congressperson.” If you use the term “gentlemen’s agreement,” it may suggest you use “unspoken agreement” instead. If you describe someone as a “disabled person” the AI would suggest “person with a disability.” Person-first terminology is preferred because it portrays the person as more important than the disability.


Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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