Like a lot of people, my relationship with software and technology is tense. I am simultaneously addicted to it, but regularly fantasize about throwing my iPhone and iPad off the balcony. I imagine the brief feeling of satisfaction at seeing them smashed into a million twinkling pieces on the sidewalk. No doubt if this rogue moment did happen however, it would be followed by sheer panic, profoundly unbiblical language, and maybe some tears.
During good times, I pass many hours writing, editing, reading news, tweeting, watching cat videos, and clicking on anything involving a wiener dog. I particularly love reading about business trends and finding new innovative software or apps to help conduct better and more efficient business communication. Accurate, concise and mistake-free writing in all business communication is imperative to a company's brand. Any communication, but particularly business emails or texts, should be free of grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and typos if a person or company wants to put forth a professional and polished image.
Learning from our mistakes.
I'm sure we have all made mistakes, we are humans after all, not robots. But in this day and age it can be software and technology that actually fail us. We must double and triple check our writing no matter how much we have come to count on technology. For example, we've all heard about or actually fallen victim to autocorrect. I have laughed until tears run down my face at autocorrect fails posted online. They can be hilariously funny or absolutely mortifying depending on the recipient of your text or email. Hopefully, we are all savvy enough to have learned to work around autocorrect, but now I would like to introduce a new version of the autocorrect fail….the voice-to-text fail.
Voice to text seems, at first, like a brilliant idea and a wonderful timesaver. You don’t even need to look at your phone; you simply speak into it and the software takes care of the rest. What an ideal solution for busy business people when in the car or anywhere they can't type.
Take it from me, there are still a few kinks to be worked out.
My email: Hi there, I've attached some articles for you to read for some blog topic ideas. I know you’re busy right now but will you have time to read them vaginally?
Client response: I can read them Monday but I think I’ll do it with my hands.
I looked back at my original email and almost fainted.
I had said "eventually."
Voice to text heard VAGINALLY. I had even briefly looked over the email to make sure it was correct before I sent it. How on earth did I miss the word vaginally? You’d think that would jump right off the screen. But a phenomenon exists where your brain automatically fills in an intended word. It’s a real thing and one of the reasons writers need editors. I’m going with that explanation.
Now you would think that was a bad enough experience to teach me a lesson.
It was not.
Client text: Do you have any availability on Friday?
My text: Hey, I’m away this weekend from Friday to Sunday giving a colonic. I think it’s full to participate, but you’re welcome to come and watch.
I hit send before I checked it.
I actually said CLINIC.
I coach a sport part-time and was giving a clinic, definitely NOT a colonic. Needless to say my student was incredibly confused. And somewhat alarmed.
Now I’m no software genius so I’m wondering - are the words vaginally and colonic used so frequently that the software chooses them over more common words like eventually and clinic? I thought the software recognized more frequently used words and stored them in its memory. This cannot be true, because I can assure you with utter certainty that I have never typed the words vaginally or colonic. Ever.
I can’t imagine the scenario where I would send: “Good morning, how was the colonic?” or “How are you? Is everything good with you vaginally?”
So what gives Apple? Are you planning to improve your voice-to-text software? Are we ever going to be able to use it for business communication worry free? And who is in charge of vocabulary? Are words ranked in terms of frequency of use? Or was the software designed by some roving band of tech-savvy GI specialists?
So many unanswered questions.