Now My Phone Can Say “Fuck”!

Expletive DeletedThis is literally the best fucking news I’ve heard all day. As you know, I recently got my very first smart phone. And it has been nice. There are a number of things I can do on the phone that I just couldn’t before. And now I can browse the web with a reasonable amount of ease. But by far, the biggest change has been that I can use the Android Voice-to-Text feature, which allows me to speak my text messages. It’s very nice.

There was just one problem. You all know what a foul mouthed motherfucker I am. And the Voice-to-Text features censors my language. It isn’t bad if it is a simple “fuck,” because every can figure out what “f***” means. But what about “m***********”? Any ideas? If you do have an idea, it’s because I used the word earlier in his paragraph: motherfucker. But okay, I suppose that I could deal with that kind of thing. But recently, I said to my phone, “I know you don’t like to be sexualized.” It was in reference to a tweet a friend of mine had received that I figured she would not appreciate. And the phone spit back, “I know you don’t like to be s*********.” Since when is “sexualized” a naughty word?

This led me to the extreme measure of picking up a copy of Android Phones for Dummies. In general, I have found the Dummies series to be rather good and at a decent amount of depth. I was pleased the book did deal with the issue, “Uttering f*** words.” But other than saying that the phone does it, there was nothing. Well, there was this:

Your phone knows a lot of blue terms, including the infamous “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” but apparently the terms crap and damn are fine. Don’t ask me how much time I spent researching this topic. [Emphasis very much mine! -FM]

Well, I wasn’t fucking interested in which words I couldn’t say. I was interesting in stopping the fucking phone from saying things that I clearly wanted to say. After all, I could use “mom” curse words or say “stupid” instead of “fucking.” If I say “fucking” it is because I fucking what the fucking phone to fucking text it that fucking way! Also Dan Gookin didn’t explain to me that it wasn’t just naughty words that were off limits but the entire discussion of sex, apparently. This is a book that was published in 2012. So it’s pretty recent. Remember that.

So I threw the book aside and I turned to Google. I searched for, “stop voice input censoring android.” And the first thing that came up was an article from LifeHacker, Stop Android’s Voice-to-Text from Blocking Swear Words. That article was published in 2011, so clearly it was around for Mr Gookin to find, but I suspect that Mr Gookin is just fine with censoring. Computer books are usually written by people whose ethical complexity started and ended with learning not to cheat at four-square.

The procedure is laid out in the article, but it is trivial. Go to your base phone setup. Go to “Voice input and output.” Then go to “Voice regognition settings.” And there you will find “Block offensive words.” Touch it to turn the fucking thing off. And never go back!

Afterword

The book Android Phones for Dummies seems pretty good overall. I don’t want to put down the book generally. But it amazes me that the author would take all that time to learn about the feature but not learn how to shut it off.

11 thoughts on “Now My Phone Can Say “Fuck”!

  1. OK — just stop taunting your phone. Stop it, now. It is vastly more powerful than you. It can kill, via a single "beep", anyone you’ve ever cared about. Do not fuck with it.

    At some point, my old flip-phone will die. And I will need a new one. This spooks me the fuck out.

    • Interestingly, I got a “better” phone, and it does not have the ability to shut this feature off. It reminds of the way that libertarians are always worried about government destroying our freedom. But here is a clear case of private censorship. I know what libertarians would say. But it is idiotic — because the vast majority of libertarians are idiots.

      • Exactly-they are okay with private business screwing you over because supposedly you can go just find some other business to get your product from. Which is absolute nonsense and ignores how a lot of business executives are greedy fuckers who make it next to impossible to do so while figuring out how to trigger your desires for their product.

        What I find especially weird is how prudish it is. Swearing is almost at this point completely normalized so to block a few words makes no sense unless they just are that leery of being screeched at by pissed off soccer moms.

        • I love listening to libertarians make arguments against antitrust law. It doesn’t take into account anything practical. “Once the monopoly charges too much, another company will come in to compete.” Because you know, there are no startup times or costs, and the monopoly will not respond with temporary low prices to drive the competitor out before it can gain any market share. Ugh.

          I agree, although I decided about a year ago not to use coarse language in the articles, unless they are in quotes. Mostly, this is just substituting “nonsense” for “bullshit.” Nonsense is a better word for me anyway. But regardless, if you are texting to someone, you can censor yourself. And I don’t see much difference between “fuck” and “f***.” It’s the same word, just spelled differently.

          • I use crossroads to trash libertarian arguments. What happens when you have to have a crossroad? Who is going to determine who gets what right of way? Then I bring in the justice system and ask them if they are okay with someone being able to just pay the judge more to get their way. Yes often seems that way (especially in states where every judge is up for election, not just the Justices of the Peace) however nominally judges can and do get in trouble for someone paying them money to do things on the bench. Since they don’t have an answer for me, they just run away.

            I once was reading a biography on Prince Albert of Victoria’s husband fame and it said that the reason we consider those words to be swear words these days is because he was very fastidious and they offended him. And what Prince Albert hated, Victoria hated and so on. I swear more in person then I do online but then I also am slightly more articulate online thanks to the ability to look up how to spell a word correctly.

            • That’s a good example. The thing about the courts is that libertarians are convinced that governments are corrupt and can’t do anything right. But then they want all disputes dealt with my the courts. So no environmental regulations, just court cases over property rights, “You polluted on my land!” So these same people who think the government can’t do anything right also think that the courts will be perfect. They are very silly.

                • The way I see it is every law and every non-law have winners and losers. If you set the speed limit at 55, you’re helping people who want safer roads and harming those who want to go faster. Same thing with removing the speed limit or setting it at 10. There’s no such thing as a law or non-law that benefits everyone equally. No doubt many would be offended if their voice-recognition software mistook “flock” for “fuck.”

                  I’m surprised our smartphones don’t just have software good enough to adapt to frequent usage. No matter how many times I text certain proper names into my phone, it never expects them to come up if they aren’t in the phone’s dictionary. Why not adjust to the user? Partially because phones are meant to be replaced after a year, like 1950’s cars with the newest tailfins, as a way to sell products to people who already have essentially the same product, so they’re not made to be useful for a longer period. Although they well could be. There’s virtually no real difference between today’s newest model and that from two years ago, besides tailfins.

                  • My phone is weird, it keeps terrible spellings randomly but my dog’s name of Amara it never ever saves.

                    You do know James that this means next year the software on the newest phones will do that? And walk your dog, plant trees for you, make you grilled cheese sandwiches when you are blue…

                    • There was one really funny bit in the movie “Her” (where AI makes people everywhere fall in love with their OS.) Since the AI makes the OS keep learning, it eventually learns that other OS are just quicker-witted than humans. One human in love with the OS catches it not paying attention to him, and asks why it seemed distracted. Oh, nothing, the OS responds, I’m just having ten million conversations right now. But I’m still, right here, in the moment with you!

                      Otherwise the movie wasn’t as well-thought out as I like from SF; it was more a modern parable, and for those I prefer “Black Mirror.” That bit was very funny. HAL in 2001 got mad we didn’t respect it enough for all it did (shades of Betty Friedan?) The OS in “Her” gets bored with us because we’re not keeping up. In both cases (and they’re both funny), “it’s not you; it’s me.”

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