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11.15.19
Woke Writing

Microsoft Word’s New “AI Editor” Scolds You for Gendered Language

May 7th 19__Kristin Houser__Filed Under: Artificial Intelligence
Victor Tangermann

21st Century Clippy

Microsoft has a plan to make sure your writing is inclusive — and it involves artificial intelligence.

On Monday, the tech giant announced the upcoming integration of its AI-powered Ideas feature into Word Online, the cloud-based version of its popular word processor, Microsoft Word.

According to a Microsoft blog post, in addition to helping writers improve the structure and clarity of their documents, Ideas will also offer them suggestions for language that’s more inclusive — a heartening example of AI helping shape a future in which all people feel welcomed.

Inclusive Language

In the blog post, Microsoft uses “policeman” as an example of a term that might raise a red flag with Ideas, noting that the feature may suggest a writer opt for the more inclusive “police officer” instead.

As noted by the Linguistic Society of America, “inclusive language acknowledges diversity, conveys respect to all people, is sensitive to differences, and promotes equal opportunities” — so if that’s the kind of future Ideas can help shape, kudos to Microsoft for creating it.

READ MORE: How AI is making people’s workday more productive [Microsoft 365]

More on gender: It’s Time to Talk About How Siri is Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes