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Elon Musk mocks Microsoft Word’s woke ‘inclusivity checker’ flagging ‘insane’ as biased

Elon Musk versus Bill Gates?

  |   By Polling+ Staff

Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for The New York Times

The New York Post headlines:  Elon Musk mocks Microsoft Word’s woke ‘inclusivity checker’ flagging ‘insane’ as biased

The Post reports:

“Elon Musk blasted a Microsoft Word feature called ‘inclusivity checker,’ complaining that it ‘scolded’ him for typing the word ‘insane.’

The billionaire owner of X posted a screenshot of a Microsoft Word document that appeared to be discussing Tesla’s new Cybertruck, which boasted of the new electric vehicle’s ‘insane stability.’

The phrase was highlighted by Word’s software — which flags terms and phrases that are deemed politically incorrect and then recommends alternate phrasing — warning that ‘insane’ is a word that ‘implies mental health bias.’

‘Microsoft Word now scolds you if you use words that aren’t ‘inclusive’! the world’s richest man wrote on his social media platform on Friday.”

Musk also posted a screenshot showing an attempt to type “11,000lbs” — though it is unclear why that term would be deemed not inclusive.

“Consider a different perspective,” the Microsoft Word prompt reads. It then offers alternatives such as “11,000lbs (about 4989.51 kg)” and “11,000lbs (about twice the weight of an elephant).”

The Post has sought comment from Microsoft.

Other social media users posted screenshots of attempts to use terms that were flagged by the software’s “inclusivity checker.”

One user wrote in a Word document: “Hey there, could you man the booth this afternoon?”

The checker, which is only available to customers who subscribe to the Windows maker’s $7-a-month Microsoft 365 subscription plan, flagged the phrase ‘man the booth’ and suggested instead ‘a gender-neutral term [that] would be more inclusive‘ such as ‘staff’ or ‘take control of.’

Other phrases that are deemed to be politically incorrect by the ‘inclusivity checker’ include ‘postman’ — which the software suggests be rephrased as ‘postal worker’ — and ‘master’ — which could be altered to ‘expert.’

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, in Minneapolis in the spring of 2020, GitHub, the Microsoft-owned open source software engineering site, banned the use of the phrases ‘master’ and ‘slave’ since they were considered racially insensitive.”

Doubtless Musk versus Gates will continue..