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The next big thing in IM/email/blogging: the Rudeness CheckerTM

Posted by johnreynolds on July 1, 2005 at 5:47 AM PDT

Janet Heiss's recent blog entry got me thinking about socially relevant technology....

First came the spell checker, then the grammar checker... We are way over due for the Rudeness CheckerTM.

How many times have you grimaced when reading your own messages/blogs/emails/comments?

From the dawn of email we've suffered from poor judgement or bad manners, but there's also quite a bit of unintended rudeness that just comes from not reading what we've written carefully before we post it.

I have gaffed so many times while blogging that I now generally "sleep on each entry overnight" before publishing. I still don't catch all of the unintended slurs, but it helps.

Some brilliant AI researcher out there (and a generous Angel Investor) needs to volunteer to help me develop the Rudeness CheckerTM. A closely allied product to the Rudeness CheckerTM will be the Violations of Corporate Policy CheckerTM (to help keep naive bloggers from losing their jobs).

I don't imagine that it will be easy to create the Rudeness CheckerTM... in fact I imagine that it will require nuanced speech comprehension far beyond simple speech recognition (Sounds like a great candidate for a DARPA grant).

Difficult or not, the Rudeness CheckerTM might be a significantly worthwhile piece of technology for bringing us closer together.

The TM is tongue-in-cheek... if you had searched Google for "rudeness checker" (before this blog was posted), you would have seen:

Your search - "rudeness checker" - did not match any documents.

When I first posted this blog, I wasn't ambitious enough in my scope. Instead of limiting Rudeness Checker TM to written communication... Why not embed Rudeness Checker TM into mobile phones (extending the JavaTM Wireless Toolkit, of course) to prevent rude cellphone and rude camera-phone usage?

Now that's an example of socially relevant technology ;-)

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