Autocorrect saves time, causes problems

Matt Murphy

1993 was a momentous year, for more than just the fact that it’s the year that I was born. It was also the first year Microsoft Word included the autocorrect feature.

Once the first iPhone was released in 2007, autocorrect became a key selling point for the device and others like it. I’m not so sold on it though.

Has there been a more maddening invention in this generation? Half the time it saves time, the other half it leaves users wondering why it changed “tight” to “right,” as I often do.

Can you believe there was a time when one had to type out each letter of a message to completion?

The phone didn’t guess what the end of a word might be and finish it with the tap of a finger. A user had to complete (sometimes) grammatically correct sentences without aid.

Makes you wonder how anyone survived the early 2000s.

There is no doubt autocorrect has saved the iPhone generation countless hours that can now be filled with tweeting, posting on Instagram and using Facebook.

Is that such a good thing though?

It’s no secret that the U.S. is not near the top of a list of national school test scores. Now its youth have a device that spells words for them, and keeps them from adequately practicing what they learn in school.

Is the time saved from not having to type out every letter of “sandwich” really worth the lack of thought for what one types?

I’ll admit, I’m guilty too. Half the time my messages get sent with multiple errors because the words are close enough to what I wanted to say in the first place.

Writing and speaking with correct grammar and spelling are skills that permeate every aspect of life. Why turn the practice of this particular skill over to a machine?

Because it’s quicker and easier. These two adjectives have driven American ingenuity for the past 100 years.

Humans invented cars because they made getting somewhere easier and quicker than using horses. Fast food was made available because grabbing a quick bite from a drive-thru restaurant is quicker and easier than cooking for ourselves.

We made autocorrect because it is quicker and easier than typing our thoughts for ourselves.

Slow down. Write words on a page. Write a letter. Take pleasure in crafting and creating the words for yourself.

Turn autocorrect off for a week — it is possible. See if it affects the way that you write in other mediums. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how easily words will come to you.

Matt Murphy can be reached at [email protected] or @matthewcharlesz on Twitter.