Tech giant Microsoft is trying to make the world more awake by rolling out a “comprehensiveness” testing tool in its Word software.
Along with the usual spell-checking, its word processor now highlights phrases that might offend someone based on gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or even “Socioeconomic status”.
It suggests “more inclusive” alternatives – with some hilarious and confusing results.
Users who wrote “Mrs Thatcher” were told it “may imply gender bias” and were prompted to change it to “Ms Thatcher” which was deemed less offensive.
And the phrase astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered when he became the first man on the moon was deemed unacceptable.
Instead of “a giant leap for mankind”, he should have said “mankind” or “mankind”.
In the lyrics to Barry Manilow’s Copacabana loves to party, Microsoft suggests Lola should be called a “dancer”, “performer” or “performer” rather than a “performance girl”.
Postman Pat is gender-neutral, so the system recommends calling him a “mail carrier” or a “postal worker.”
It also proposes changing “maid” – used for centuries to describe a housekeeper – to a “housekeeper”.
Others in need of change include “principal” (suggested word is “principal”), “mistress” (“lover”), “owner” (“expert”), “human resource” (“ workforce”) and “heroine” (“heroine”).
Microsoft has included this feature in its latest version of Office 365, a subscription service used by 250 million people worldwide including students, office workers, academics, and writers.
When enabled, typos are underlined in red, grammar errors in blue, and “inclusive” issues in purple.
Some users on Twitter, which is known for its wake-up crowds, praised the tester as a great invention.
Digital Strategist John Bull tells his followers: “Your spell checker will now help you begin to overcome your subconscious biases.
“It’s a great feature. I wish they would make more noise about it. “
The checker can be toggled on and off in the menu called “Grammar & Screening”, which lists everything it checks: Age Bias, Cultural Bias, Ethnic Profanity Race, Gender Bias, Gender-neutral Pronouns, Gender-Specific Language, Racial Bias, Sexual Orientation, and Socioeconomic Bias.
Last year, Microsoft’s billionaire founder, Bill Gates, donated $1 million to an organization called Equitable Math that aims to “eliminate racism in math.”
It was mocked for a statement on the group’s website that read: “Culture of white supremacy emerges in math classrooms when the focus is on finding the ‘right’ answer.
“Keeping to the idea that there are always right and wrong answers maintains objectivity and fear of open conflict.”
In November, Microsoft was also mocked in a video slide show that showed senior executives introducing themselves by citing pronouns about their race and gender.
Marketing director Nic Fillingham was filmed saying: “I am a Caucasian man, with glasses and a beard. I go by him/her. ”
Microsoft was asked for comment.
https://www.thesun.ie/tech/8196591/microsoft-inclusiveness-checker-office365-word/ Tech giant Microsoft is trying to make the world more awake by rolling out a ‘inclusivity’ checker in Word