Grammarly Disease

14 11 2017

Your Blogmeister’s Secret Hideout

When I was younger, English/writing/composition teachers and professors on occasion warned us of something called Roget’s Disease, that is, when you relied too much on Roget’s thesaurus or another thesaurus in writing, creative or otherwise, and without understanding lexicographical nuances, and what you wound up writing and turning in, could have been done by a clever chimp armed with a copy of Roget’s, and was torturous for the teacher/professor or anyone else to have to read, and usually came off as nonsensical.  Put more simply, Roget’s Disease is abuse of the thesaurus.  “Use the right word, not its second cousin.” — A certain Hannibalista

Keep that in mind as I make this prediction:

Within a few years, we’ll be reading of something called Grammarly Disease. The yuge difference is that, since everyone will be adding the Grammarly extension to their browsers, or they’ll use Grammarly in whichever ways it makes itself available, and by “everyone,” I mean everyone from professional writers down to elementary school students doing creative writing assignments, the end result is that just about everything everyone writes and reads is going to be perfect in terms of spelling, grammar and usage. Problem is, it’ll be too perfect — Just about everything we’ll read will come off as the same kind of spit-shine polished but uninspiring, because in reality, it will be halfway “written” by Grammarly Inc’s AI. For the same reason that most modern political rhetoric and oratory is uninteresting, boring, and deja le meme chose, because the universe of handlers/advisers/PR hacks that lives one subterranean layer underneath the official visible political class has a hive mind and compel the official politicians they handle to spit out the same prefab slick polished non-controversial phrases and bromides over and over again.

Alternatively, another way that Grammarly Disease could manifest is the old axiom that something that everyone can do is something that everyone will do.  Plain words, if AI will fix all your grammar, spelling, usage, style and plagiarism issues, then half the world’s Dunning-Kruger Effect sufferers will flood the planet with mindless gibberish that just so happens to be linguistically perfect in every way.  Grammarly:Letters::Twitter:Politics.

I’m not adding the Grammarly extension to my browsers. Unh unh, no way.  I’m not trading in color for perfection.

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3 responses

15 11 2017
Bon

Uninspired, lazy hacks and unintelligent students will use Grammarly – and it will show, like many stupid, poorly-written, banal piss-stream media reports.

Creative types, “out of the box” thinkers and those who don’t follow conventional form will not.

And, those will be the ones who succeed, whom we will read, admire and follow.

I’d never expect you to use such a crutch, QD – although Roget’s does have its place in good and even great writing, especially when one is up against a writer’s block (as I have been on occasion).

15 11 2017
countenance

My go-to printed dictionary

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0195392884/

My go-to printed thesaurus

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0199829926/

Admonitions about Roget’s Disease never precluded me from actually using Roget’s or any thesaurus, (and I think Oxford’s does the best in making itself abuse-proof). It’s just that I know what kind of a tool a thesaurus is, how to use it, and more importantly, how not to use it.

About the future outbreak of Grammarly Disease. First off, Ray Kurzweil would probably be the least surprised about any of this. Second, from what I can tell, Grammarly in its current capabilities doesn’t actually change your style or color, that much, it just checks for spelling/grammar/plag. Which means that the way Grammarly Disease will initially manifest is my second theory rather than my first theory. Third, however, the nature of AI-based algorithms is that they get better and more capable over time, so over the coming years, Grammarly will do more and more of the actual authorship, and, via Kurzweil, as human nature is to offload as much repetitive drudge work as possible to technology, (hint: When was the last time you multiplied a four digit number by another four digit number by hand with pen and paper? Compute a square or cube root by hand with p/p?), I can actually see in the more relatively distant future (10+ years out) that Grammarly Disease will manifest in the way of my first theory.

15 11 2017
Pinned Post (Newer Content Follows Below) | Countenance Blog

[…] Laws, Illini vs Math, HRC Doc Hoax, Donna Brazile, STL Prop P, Hamilton in STL, Kenneka Jenkins, Grammarly Disease, Halloween Jihad in NYC, Fearless Girl, Common Core Meltdown, Frat Splat, Charlottesville, Jason […]

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