Google Docs will now make more “inclusive” suggestions and edits in its autocorrect and predictive algorithm, changing words like ‘mailman’ to ‘mail carrier’ or ‘chairman’ to ‘chairperson.’
“The announcement was made during the virtually-held Google I/O developer conference on Tuesday,” the Daily Mail reported. “The new update will also suggest ways to avoid passive voice or offensive language.”
Google’s plan to avoid offensive language by impelling its users to deindividualize others by attempting to blindly censor the specification of their gender identity might seem contradictory, and it also comes just a few years after Google removed gendered pronouns from its predictive text.
“In 2018 it was forced to remove gender pronouns from the predictive text feature found in its Gmail platform,” the Daily Mail reported. “The feature stopped suggesting pronouns that indicate a specific gender such as ‘he’, ‘her’, ‘him’ or ‘she’ for fear of suggesting the wrong one and causing offence.”
“Google staff said at the time that the risk was too high that its ‘Smart Compose’ technology might predict someone’s sex or gender identity incorrectly,” the Daily Mail added. Google’s “style guide already asks developers to use ‘baffling’ instead of ‘crazy’, ‘placeholder variable’ instead of ‘dummy variable’ and ‘final check for completeness and clarity’ instead of ‘final sanity-check’.”
Google has also banned tragic events, racial slurs and expletives from its predictive technologies – and, of course, mentions of its business rivals.