Cartoon of teacher and pupil in front of a whiteboard with a calculation on it. Caption reads: "I know it's wrong, I'm just waiting for the autocorrect."

Two questions:

1. Do you have predictive text turned on for your mobile phone messaging?
2. Do you have any Italian friends?

Bear with us on this; these two questions are related. Because if you have predictive switched to ‘on’ and you send your Turin amici a Christmas goodwill greeting, the AI language technology turns ‘Buon Natale’ (Happy Christmas) into ‘Burn Natalie’.

That’s not what you meant to say as you were spreading Christmas cheer across Europe, and your Italian friends could understandably think you’ve lost the festive plot.

Technology that doesn’t always work

Predictive text can be useful in some cases but, like all technology, even the high-end stuff, it still needs the human eye cast over it to make sure all is as it should be before you hit ‘send’.

Machines and software can speed things up for all of us in this busy, fast-paced world, but they can’t replace the human brain and eye, especially when it comes to clear, concise and accurate language, every time, without fail.

AI is no substitute for clear, careful writing

Predictive text is an AI technology process that can go wrong. It demonstrates, with unerring accuracy, just why technology is not the way forward for those looking for clear, sensible communication. It is certainly not the answer to inadequate human messaging and dialogue issues, most of which are, in any case, caused by poor communication.

Artificial intelligence and ‘natural language processing’ are no substitute for taking care when writing. Some call it being mindful. Actually it is the ability to focus on the task in hand until that task is complete.

Poor Natalie. It’s not her fault, it’s yours.

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