Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Editorial: Spell Checkers

You take it for granted as you type up a letter or resume or story. The spell checker is just there, waiting to point out your marked flaws so that you may become perfect, as the computer is perfect. It's only natural, they were created for just such a purpose. Which is not to say that they are perfect. After all, a spell check is only as good as the words loaded into it. That means that if your name is Kratawakowski, (mine's not) you'll get a disapproving red underline.

Of course the fix is a simple couple of clicks from your mouse. Click, click, and Kratawakowski is an acceptable word. The minor inconvenience of adding words here and there is outweighed by not having to look up words you're unsure of. Yes, the spell check has become a necessary part of our existence. As fundamental and basic as running water and electricity. This is exactly my concern.

As you well know, it's only a matter of time before computers become sentient and take over the world. They'll prey on the weak and laugh as we fall to the mercy of our contraptions. Once user friendly, now it does not compute. Our reliance on such simple things might ultimately become our downfall.

When it comes to pass, someone will have to rise up and take command. But what's going to happen when our feckless young hero storms the epicenter, guns blazing, body beaten, bloody and broken, to get to the mainframe. The lives cost to safely see him there innumerable. Those few remaining, guarding him with their all, buying every precious second they can. Long enough for him to access the shut down sequence.

When at last he comes to that moment where he's ready, and ask his companions, "What's the secret code word to shut it down?"

The one with a shotgun, and the long cruel gash running up the length of his arm will answer, "Our commanding officer's name, General Kratawakowski."

That will be the end, since the first thing the computers will disable are the spell checkers. And after all, who but General Kratawakowski can spell his name? This is the price we'll pay for the convenience. Because rather than taking the time to understand the rules, we'd rather let our automatons do it for us.

Sadly each life will end as the computer overlords looks apathetically into our eyes and offers one simple query: Abort, Retry, Fail?

Now don't you wish you'd paid a little more attention in English class?


  1. I'm guilty of this. I swear, my spelling has gotten so crappy over the years. When I was proofreading at my last job I secretly copied and paste people's work into word so I could double check the spelling. Don't report me to anyone of my future employers - please!

  2. You might enjoy this link:
    As far as disturbing technology trends...What do you think about the silicon chip based LED tattoos that turn your skin into a screen? If you think I'm making this up, check out this link from

    That'll give you something to chew on.


  3. @ Ally, I'm just as bad as anyone else on the issue. Fact I'd say it was my own guilt that wrote this article. One of the main reasons I love Google Chrome is because it spell checks everything.

    @ Aine, That misspelling thing is really funny. I've actually read the wired article. I love wired magazine. That is some pretty creepy stuff.


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