When will artificial intelligence replace editors?

Not any time soon.

Computers are getting much better at identifying writing problems — passive voice, excessive adverbs, misspelled words, the wrong form of “its.”

They’re not so good at suggesting answers.

And they’re a long way from understanding conceptual and structural issues.

From Jacob Brogan’s piece in Slate, “Microsoft’s Grammar and Style Rules Will Make Your Writing Worse.”

In an FAQ about Word’s grammar proofing, the company claims the tool “performs a comprehensive and accurate analysis … of the submitted text, instead of just using a series of heuristics (or pattern matching) to flag errors.” In other words, it’s saying that Word doesn’t just check whether a sentence violates a set of rules, it evaluates how the sentence works.

That would be terrific if it were true. Alas, it is not.

I’m too sick today to do justice to this. So I recommend you read Brogan’s article. And then tell me in the comments here . . . how long until Word (or some other tool) gets as good at editing as a skilled human?

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  1. You must have corrected here, but in the email post, it shows up as “When will artificially intelligence replace editors?”

    1. Maybe that’s the point. It took a human editor to find that typo and correct it.

      Sorry you’re sick, Josh. Hope you feel better by the time you read this.

  2. Although it’s been a while since I paid attention to this (I retired 7 years ago), Word CONSISTENTLY got “its” and “it’s” WRONG. Every. Time. The humans writing the software have to know what’s right and clearly they don’t.