I Want a Manual Everything
I am ready to admit that my computer is better at catching spelling errors than I am. That benchmark was passed a long, long time ago in our slog toward the Singularity. A man knows when he’s beat.
That said, the computer can damn well wait until I ask it to start checking.
I mention this because I got to borrow a very nice new computer this week (and really, it is pretty damn slick), and apparently the newer Macs come loaded with their very own internal autocorrect.
Not spellcheck, mind you. It doesn’t underline words in red when it thinks they’re wrong. It changes them into the word it thinks you meant to use, and then helpfully underlines the word in blue in case you want to overrule the change.
This is a Bridge Too Far in my relationship with machines.
Cars that turn the headlights on when the car thinks it’s dark enough to need headlights. Computers that preemptively correct my spelling without being asked. All this crap that does things for me is not more convenient than doing it myself.
Forget about insulting, forget about bad for our already feeble human brains; it’s just not practical. Sometimes there are good and solid reasons for wanting your car’s headlights out, in the dark, while the engine is running. Sometimes those reasons involve telling trucks that you’re going to let them pass you on the highway and sometimes they involve not being stabbed to death by smugglers — who knows which one might come up in your life?
Going back to correct your autocorrect defeats the whole purpose of an autocorrect. And don’t get me started on the limitations of the spellchecker’s dictionary, because I already started on that topic years ago.
You know how no one actually likes those vibrators with like forty speeds that change their pulse setting every ten seconds? The same thing holds true for the rest of technology. Don’t make it do shit until we tell it to.
GIGO is fine, but it has to come with a NINO antecedent — Nothing In, Nothing Out.
Or maybe I’m just getting old.