Google has launched an ‘inclusive language’ function designed to avoid the use of politically incorrect words.
Users typing ‘landlord’ will see a warning that it ‘may not be inclusive to all readers’ with the suggestion they should try ‘property owner’ or ‘proprietor’ instead.
Gender specific terms such as ‘policemen’ or ‘housewife’ should also be replaced by ‘police officers’ and ‘stay-at-home spouse’, according to the new Google Document style programme. It is now being rolled out to what the firm calls enterprise-level users.
Many computer document systems use methods to correct spelling and grammar.
But nudging users towards woke language is being seen by critics as a step too far. Tests on the system have also thrown up major flaws.
A transcribed interview with ex Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke, in which he uses offensive racial slurs and talks about hunting black people, prompted no warnings.
But it suggested President John F Kennedy’s inaugural address should say ‘for all humankind’ instead of ‘for all mankind’.
Silkie Carlo, of campaign group Big Brother Watch, told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘Google’s new word warnings aren’t assistive, they’re deeply intrusive.
‘This speech-policing is profoundly clumsy, creepy and wrong, often reinforcing bias.’
Sam Bowman, of online magazine Works in Progress, said: ‘It feels pretty hectoring and adds an unwanted political/cultural slant to what I’d rather was a neutral product [as] a user.’
A Google spokesman said: ‘Our technology is always improving, and we don’t yet [have] a solution to identifying and mitigating all unwanted word associations and biases.’
Source: Daily Mail