- - Wednesday, May 15, 2019

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Microsoft has decided that you need help in understanding what words to use when you write. After all, what you write and how you want to write it should take a backseat to what liberals think you should write.

Fox News reported, “Microsoft is harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to boost the use of ‘inclusive language’ in Word. The feature is part of Ideas in Word, a forthcoming AI-powered online tool designed to improve users’ writing … In addition to ‘familiar fixes for spelling and grammatical errors,’ Ideas in Word will also offer ‘advice on more concise and inclusive language,’ according to Microsoft. In the blog post, [John] Roach used the example of ‘police officer,’ instead of ‘policeman.’”

One has to wonder if Microsoft will only be satisfied if all of us are as woke as Justin Trudeau. The Canadian prime minister came under fire early last year when he rebuked a young woman for using that pesky term “mankind.” At the town hall, he then instructed her to use the more inclusive “peoplekind,” which is a term that does not exist.

After enduring well-deserved ridicule, Mr. Trudeau said he was joking. He wasn’t, and neither is Microsoft, and that’s the problem.

Controlling how people speak, and making it dangerous to use words deemed by activists as unacceptable is at the heart of the left’s effort to keep people from thinking about serious issues at all. After all, if it’s too dangerous to speak about the issues then the next natural step is to not think about the issues.



Microsoft will be sending that message to everyone who uses the “Ideas” program that its style (and ergo its thoughts) are morally incorrect.

Keep in mind, Word Online is managed via the cloud, which means those who use the “Ideas” option will be known, those who use it and don’t accept some changes will be known, and those who refuse to use it by opting out will be known.

On social media, we’ve seen what happens to people who refuse to use what George Orwell would call Newspeak, or even dare to use forbidden phrases. A number of well-known conservatives, such as David Horowitz and the actor James Woods, have been suspended or banned from Twitter. Mr. Horowitz’s account was reinstated after he complained to the social media platform. Twitter explained that his suspension was an “accident.”

Mr. Woods has refused to return to the micro-blogging site after being suspended for daring to tweet a famous quote by American essayist and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson.

For at least the last generation, Americans have watched this unfolding of the demands of political correctness and speech. And we’re willing to have that public debate and conversation. If society comes to a general agreement that something is reasonable like “firefighter” or “police officer,” that’s great. But to begin a program that nudges writers into acquiescing into using the left’s social-political strategy of controlling conversation, description and definition should be rejected as the beginning of a direct assault on the freedom to write and think as we please.

If we are to learn from the behavior of the social media platforms, there will inevitably be a point where if you don’t write in the politically correct way, or accept all of “Ideas” recommendation to “help” you with more “inclusive” language, perhaps you could be banned from using the product at all.

Consider, out of so-called convenience, if a sizeable majority allow artificial intelligence to control what is written (and ultimately what we say), as directed by information cultivated by political partisans. That alone would isolate individuals who do not conform, inviting inevitable accusations of being racists, sexists and homophobes.

Being assigned one of those scarlet labels gets you removed from social media platforms. But leftists have also implemented campaigns to pressure banks into refusing to do business with people who are accused of thought crime, resulting in among things the canceling of checking and credit card accounts.

Don’t forget we were told by Facebook that it was an “algorithm” that determined what their now-defunct Newsfeed would show to Facebook’s 2 billion users. That wasn’t true. As we ultimately learned, it was actually humans making decisions about what websites would be promoted, which would be banned and which stories would be highlighted.

As individual lives and businesses become completely reliant on technology and more and more information moves through the cloud, we all can become hostage to the hyper-political partisanship of the technology sector. We’ve already seen our reliance on these products to run our lives and operate our businesses be used as a cudgel to punish us for not conforming to the liberal worldview.

Make no mistake: The announcement by Microsoft that their “Ideas” program will automatically “correct” what you write to conform to approved political speech is the promotion of correct speech as well as it is the silencing of those who do not agree.

• Tammy Bruce, president of Independent Women’s Voice, author and Fox News contributor, is a radio talk-show host.

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