Google is rolling out a new way to police speech for the purpose of “inclusivity.”
According to a report on the Telegraph, the Big Tech company has issued an update to its document editor, Google Docs, to implement “inclusive warnings” to suggest to users to refrain from using gendered terms like “policeman” and “landlord.”
“Assisted writing uses language understanding models, which rely on millions of common phrases and sentences to automatically learn how people communicate. This also means they can reflect some human cognitive biases,” Google explained.
The feature, which first made its debut on Google Docs, is automatically enabled by default for the company’s enterprise-level users.
The report suggests that warnings will alert users that they are using terms that “may not be inclusive to all readers.” Users will then be told to “consider using different words” by offering possible corrections like “police officer” and “property owner” in place of the politically deprecated terms.
As detailed by Summit News, terms like “motherboard” are also considered unwoke and are subject to warnings.
The website’s search engine is not free from the subtle form of censorship, which extends even to popular quotes such as president John F. Kennedy’s inauguration speech. Google suggests that his remark, “for all mankind” should be corrected to “for all humankind.”
Big Tech watchdog organization, Big Brother Watch, called the effort to police speech for political correctness “deeply intrusive.”
“With Google’s new assistive writing tool, the company is not only reading every word you type but telling you what to type,” said Big Brother Watch’s director of rights Silkie Carlo.
“This speech-policing is profoundly clumsy, creepy and wrong, often reinforcing bias. Invasive tech like this undermines privacy, freedom of expression and increasingly freedom of thought,” Carlo added.
The International Centre for Law and Economics’ Lazar Radic called the move “incredibly conceited and patronizing,” adding that the censorship “can also serve to stifle individuality, self-expression, experimentation, and — from a purely utilitarian perspective — progress.”
“What if ‘landlord’ is the better choice because it makes more sense, narratively, in a novel? What if ‘house owner’ sounds wooden and fails to invoke the same sense of poignancy? What if the defendant really was a ‘housewife’ — and refers to herself as such? Should all written pieces — including written forms of art, such as novels, lyrics and poetry — follow the same, boring template?”