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I was just pondering today why PCs have adopted spell checking as a standard feature but don't appear to use context techniques for word checking or grammar checking yet. Perhaps I'm just using the wrong apps?

The speaker says "to take in much more data" but it gets parsed by the speech-to-text as "to take it much more data" which is such an unlikely phrase I can't really work out why it's not auto-corrected.

The phrase provided doesn't appear to be in either Google's nor Bing's web indexes. Typing "to take i" in to either Google or Bing's search box produces a hit for "to take in" as the most likely match; and within milliseconds.

Similarly (and ironically) with "about one error out of" being parsed as "about one air out of".

That he goes on to say that they use statistical techniques and phrase analysis for the translation makes this sort of error all the more intriguing, why isn't that same statistical approach weeding out these sorts of errors.

Nonetheless an impressive demonstration.

Green squiggly excluded, I can think of two reasons off the top of my head why even the most advanced general purpose grammar checker would be a bit of a controversial feature:

- Because grammar is typically more expressive, and dependent upon a concept that otherwise may not exist in words. Thus statistical grammar models and context checkers would be much more volatile to generating nonsense from user input (along the lines of the Sokal hoax) or restricting output to a range of acceptable models (giving the machine its own voice in a sense). That leads to the second thing...

- It kills freedom and creativity (or at least, how we receive it). Imagine comedy routines in stoic deadpan. Perfunctory exchanges in formal constructions (and vice versa). Obviously you can avoid all of these situations if you wanted to, but in that case it should probably be saved for those special occasions. It could probably help a lot of businessmen wanting to write their statements and messages in shorthand without spewing boilerplate text. But it's potentially damaging to every child or student who is still finding out how they want to express themselves in the given context.

Note: I think it is fair to assume that grammar checking would include the ability to reformulate or generate text that obeys the relevant models. Spell checkers suggest spellings, grammar checkers have to suggest fixes and changes as well, and if we want to get any further than Win98 era Word it will probably have to have a plain old fix-it generator as well.


FWIW: There's a Chilean comedian whose weapon of choice is to deliver mostly black humor in stoic deadpan. The result is hilarious. Probably because you know he's a comedian.


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