sherlock holmes, benedict cumberbatch, mobile, texting, autocorrect, automatic, spelling

Autocorrect sees the real me

We all suspect that our phones are spying on us. Listening to us. Tracking us. Monitoring us. Have one random, face-to-face conversation about, say, kayaking, and the next thing you know, adverts for canoes and wet weather gear (what even is wet weather gear?) are popping up all over. It sees us. It knows.

Weirder still are those times when our phones seem to have a grasp on, not merely what we are thinking, but what our subconscious is doing subliminally. In other words: the stuff we don’t even know we are thinking. It was unnerving if it wasn’t rather droll. Because the autocorrect function on our phones seems to be sending us messages. Signals. Indications that it sees the real us. Does autocorrect know us better than we know ourselves?

My suspicions sharpened when I noticed that again and again, when I tried to type ‘love’ my phone would display the word ‘lice’. Hmmm. Is there something wrong with my love? Is my love like an infestation? Am I, as I always suspect, a bit of a parasite and everyone would prefer it if I just stayed at home? It was tapping into my self-loathing in a way that gave me some perspective – particularly when it happened at the sad end of a bad relationship.

Then I saw that when I attempted a ‘sorry’ (and I am always saying sorry), the phone decided to go for ‘dirty’. Of course it did. Bad girl. Guilty girl. Dirty girl. ‘Meds’ changed to ‘mess’ presumably because when you need them you are in one. And ‘speaking’ transformed itself into ‘Riesling’ – apt because when one is feeling cripplingly anxious, talking feels impossible without lubrication; particularly when someone tries to make you go out and talk to people outside your house and comfort zone. Terrifying.

And so they keep on coming. The endless ‘ducking’ – which I now read as ducking for cover – is the very least of it. My cheerful favourite is when ‘thing’ becomes ‘ting’ because I take it as a nod to my secret (very secret) hip hop self. Which gives me hope.

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