3 ways autocorrect is making you look unprofessional
Philippa Lowe
Published: 4th June 2018

3 ways autocorrect is making you look unprofessional

When you think of automation and Artificial Intelligence, visions of robots may come to mind, but the reality is that we are coming into contact with AI much more often than we really think – Facebook friend recommendations and spam filters are just two ways AI creeps into our lives.

Perhaps the most common piece of AI is the humble autocorrect but, as too many who have gone before us have discovered, autocorrect is not always your friend – in fact, it could be making you look extremely unprofessional.

#1 Autocorrect is just guessing

This is where the ‘intelligence’ part comes into it – autocorrect learns from what you’ve written before. That means that the more you use it, the more it will get used to what words you put together. There is also an option in the settings of most autocorrect applications to auto-replace words; it’s a feature often used by kids to play pranks on their friends or parents but it can be a genuinely useful feature too. Unfortunately, not everyone has fared so well from using it.

All the way back during the Beijing Olympics, the American Family Association changed their autocorrect settings to replace the word ‘gay’ with ‘homosexual’. This was no real problem until they reported on success of US Olympic sprinter, Tyson Gay. The autocorrect couldn’t differentiate the surname, so it simply renamed him, ‘Tyson Homosexual’ and, clearly not too closely proofread, it was published several times. Mistakes like this can make anyone look unprofessional – you always want to be sure that the word you’re using is the word you mean to use.

#2 Mind the swearing

Are you fond of profanities in your personal life? Once again, autocorrect learns from what you’ve said before. If you’re using your phone to communicate with clients or suppliers, some of your colloquial language may sneak in, if you’re not careful with autocorrect.

One little typo in a message when you’re asking a client to meet you at the cafe next to the duck pond may end up giving this client the wrong idea entirely. Always make sure you double check your texts and emails before you send them – autocorrect can find a way to change the simplest words into profanities.

#3 Watch out for Americanised spelling

Or should we say Americanized spelling? When writing these last two sentences, neither spelling came up with the dreaded red squiggly line and this is where the danger lies. Some spell-check and autocorrect programs will be aware of which variant of English you adhere to, but not all of them are on your side.

US spelling is not unprofessional in itself, of course, but you must know your market. If you’re an Australian-based company with Australian customers, don’t be taken aback if noses screw up when you accidentally use US spelling. The same goes for US-based companies – stick to the correct English and you’ll have no problems. Always double check, because you can’t rely on the red squiggle to help you out in this case.

At the end of the day, autocorrect is fickle; if your 15 year old daughter uses your phone once to send a text, it will learn from what she types – suddenly you’ll find more ‘millennial speak’ cropping up in your texts and you won’t even know what they mean. Autocorrect is not here to make friends, so be careful you don’t get caught up in the storm that it can create.

Want someone with a little more credibility and common sense to take care of your content? Speak to us at Incredible Communications today. Email us at phil.lowe@incrediblecommunications.com.au or call 0414 711 107.