New Apple patent is anti dirty words but pro language learning

iphone text filteringSo, a new Apple patent, which may or may not ever be used, is aiming to censor our texts. With the intention of providing better parental or corporate controls, this app aims to disable sending of messages until certain banned words are removed or changed.  It also provides an alternative use as a language learning tool.

The censoring function is supposed to discourage ‘sexting‘ and inappropriate language, both for kids and for adults. Should a parent (or a corporation, or jealous spouse) want to limit what their child (or employee, or suspect spouse) is sending out, they could turn on the censor, which would disable the send function until the language is changed. Bye bye inappropriate school-aged messages; bye bye sexual harassment suits. I’m not sure how smart the system is, though, and whether or not misspellings and ‘txt spk‘ abbreviations would get through (mmm, sxxxy).

The language learning side is interesting, though. Restrictions can be set for students so they must use their target language in emails or texts (either completely, or, say a certain number or percentage of foreign words) before the messages can be sent. It’s not completely practical (not everyone I send messages to will understand what I’m saying), but an interesting concept. Say I wanted to use a certain percentage of foreign words in my blog posts, it could come in handy.

Nothing’s been confirmed about what happens if you write dirty words in foreign languages, though!

Full article: Oxford University Press Blog.