I love technology.
I grew up with it.
I’ve worked in it.
I own lots of it.
Technology has enhanced lives, changed lives and developed lives.
But there’s a point where I fear it crosses the line between being your servant and being your master.
If you ask Jill, she would say I have been a slave to my iPhone for years, but we’re not asking Jill are we.
The reason for this post is that I read that IBM’s super-computer, Watson, has developed a ‘tone analyser’ for emails and letters.
Now I get how important clarity of communication is.
I also get that tone can sometimes get clouded in written form … meaning people can have their words misinterpreted.
I also get that we can all improve our skills in someway.
But when a computer dictates ‘what is and what isn’t appropriate’, I start to get nervous.
Who set the rules it will enforce?
Why does business view personality as dangerous?
How come IBM have decided everyone should talk to everyone in the same tone … regardless of relationship status.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the technological advancement that this demonstrates … I even see the potential value it has for faceless corporations who are obsessed with being as bland and beige as possible, but while the written word can sometimes be more misunderstood than the spoken word, we are hardly spending our days going around apologising to people because for some reason, we wrote “FUCK OFF AND DIE” when we actually meant, “I HOPE YOU ARE WELL”.
Though of course all my sceptisicm and cynicism could be due to the fact that when I tested it out, my ‘letter’ was so full of passive aggressiveness that I almost broke the internet. Which means to me, the tone of my letter was just right.
You can test how much of illiterate and un-empathetic bastard you are here.
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