Microsoft’s writing tool: friend or foe?

Microsoft has announced that Word is getting an injection of Artificial Intelligence. And if the comments on the BBC article are anything to go by, we should all be worried.

I think we should reserve judgement.

What Microsoft says

According to the Microsoft blog, this is about things like “calculated average time to read the document, highlight extraction, as well as familiar fixes for spelling and grammatical errors and advice on more concise and inclusive language such as ‘police officer’ instead of ‘policeman’.”

Can that really be that bad?

It could promise productivity, more confidence for people in their spelling and grammar, and formatting options to make your main points clearer.

The current version of Word

It wants me to avoid contractions, and cut words that I’ve included for a reason. But I can, and have, chosen to ignore those suggestions. And that’s the thing. We have choice.

How AI and us humans can co-exist

Regardless of what Microsoft launches, it still needs someone with purpose, emotion and a deft hand to make sure the reader gets the point. Microsoft says it too. “Writing requires a dash of uniquely human creativity. Artificial intelligence alone cannot do it for us, at least not very well.” 

Let’s not fear what we don’t yet know

This change could make our lives easier and help us avoid being a blatherskite.*

Just as long as we can still choose to say things like ‘blatherskite’.

*Blatherskite: a person who says things that are meaningless and foolish.

By Charli Nordone, UK Creative Director

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