How predictive text is changing writing communication? | Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 30, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:32 AM, April 30, 2020

How predictive text is changing writing

Open your smartphone keyboard and type a word. Do you notice the three suggestions? This is one good example of how keyboard developers use your word usage tendencies and conversation history to determine what you might type next or the words you used before.

Let's play a game. Type one random word and choose from the others from the word suggestions to see the resultant sentence. Is it funny? It could be. It often isn't.

Dependence on predictive texting

Dependence on anything has its own pros and cons. Text prediction immensely speeds up your conversation on a messaging platform. The typing experience is more streamlined than ever before and will only get better. For example, being an anime lover, it is quite common for me to use the word "Nani" (which translates to "what"). The keyboard knows when I will use such a word and brings up as soon as I type a "n". Another example would be when we exaggerate interjections such as "lol" to 'looool", the keyboard predicts it yet again more often than not.

Just like most tech, there is an argument against this as well. Critics say that this undermines the cognitive skills of an individual that is used for writing. The argument against it is rather strong when the usage of this tech among kids is brought into perspective. It can be said, without a doubt, that more kids are using smartphones than ever before. A child's experience of learning by writing using a pen is by no means equal to that of typing. Children who learn to write by typing do not have the same understanding of character or letter forms as those who learned to write by hand.

A study done in China in 2010, estimated that almost 80 percent of people in China had problems remembering the spellings of words such as "cologne" and "enough" as dependence on auto-complete got the better of them.

What lies in the future?

Predictive text algorithms are developing further, and for the first time in history, it has been quite an achievable task for a computer program to write a story. In a few more years, it is quite possible that our silicon friends, with the help of our data, will be able to write literary pieces almost indistinguishable to ours. Will they be as good? Perhaps better? Only time will tell.

As far as the usage of predictive text is concerned, it is a technology here to stay for all the reasons, good or bad. But for now, it is our imperfections that make us the best version of ourselves. As for the tech, it will never say "Time is monkey."

For us humans, unpredictability is in our nature where a computer is about all things perfect. This makes me grateful. Whatever lies in the future, none can beat the crisp and smell of paper, the loopy L's, grammatical errors, and the sudden depletion of the pen's ink.



South China Morning Post (January 5, 2017). Is predictive text robbing us of our ability to write?

Osaman is a curious mind always wondering about AI, simulations, theoretical physics and philosophy. To discuss nerd stuff mail him at

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