Microsoft has included a new function in the latest version of its Word software that acts as a checker for inclusivity and offers PC alternatives to phrases which could upset others.
Traditionally, Microsoft Word has offered tools to its 250million users such as checking software for spelling, punctuation and grammar.
But now, the tech giant has added an additional feature which reads through a user’s work and examines whether the language used may offend an individual.
The Sun reports it does this by highlighting phrases focusing on gender, age, sexual orientation, ethnicity of ‘socioeconomic status’.
Tech giant Microsoft has added an additional feature which reads through a user’s work and examines whether the language used may offend an individual
The function, which produces a purple line beneath words or phrases it deems to be potentially problematic, can be turned on and off in Word’s settings.
Microsoft Word also used red lines to point out spelling mistakes and green lines for grammatical errors.
After highlighting the inclusivity issue, Word’s new functionality will suggest more acceptable alternatives – which includes changing Postman Pat to ‘mail carrier’ or ‘postal worker’.
The software also suggested altering astronaut Neil Armstrong’s famous quote from ‘one giant leap for mankind’, to ‘humankind’ or ‘humanity’ instead.
Back in 2020, Microsoft also released an update for Word which highlighted a double space as an error.
Current versions of the software highlights the mistaken double space with a blue line, highlighting a grammatical error.
The function, which produces a purple line beneath words or phrases it deems to be potentially problematic, can be turned on and off in Word’s settings
Popular use of double-spacing is a hangover from the days of typewriting, when the equal-width characters of ‘monospaced’ fonts called for clearer sentence endings.
The introduction of proportional-spacing typewriters in 1944, however, began the process of rendering the extra space unnecessary for ensuring easy readability.
Nevertheless, the tradition of double-spacing continued — and is often found among those individuals who were first taught to type on a typewriter.
The news comes after last month, when a poll found the Microsoft ranked as one of the most trusted big tech companies in the US, with 43 per cent of poll participants suggesting they trust the company ‘a great deal/a good amount’.
The new software also follows reports earlier this month that the computer programming flaw known as the Millennium bug which plagued PCs in 2000 had returned, with Microsoft Exchange users reporting similar problems accessing emails 22 years later.
As the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, Microsoft customers reported suffering from a re-occurrence of the Millennium bug which plagued PCs in 2000 (stock image)
The issue taking down exchange servers worldwide began as the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve.
System administrators at Microsoft dubbed the glitch Y2K22 in reference to the Y2K bug, a computer programming issue which affected some computers at the turn of the millennium 22 years ago.
As the new millennium approached, computer programmers realised that their software might not interpret 00 as 2000, but as 1900 – a glitch that many feared would spell disaster for governments, corporations, banks and industries worldwide.
Many economists predicted a worldwide recession, and doomsday flyers warning of an apocalyptic fallout as a result of computer malfunctions were published en-masse in the late 1990s.
Fortunately, the computer apocalypse never came to pass, with only minimal disruptions recorded, but the issue has come back to plague some Microsoft Exchange servers 22 years later.
The UK Government published flyers about the bug in the late 1990s. As the new millennium approached, computer programmers realised that their software might not interpret 00 as 2000, but as 1900 – a glitch that many feared would spell disaster for governments, corporations, banks and industries worldwide
The issue stems from the way that Microsoft names updates for its malware-scanning engine, which uses the year, month and date before another four-digit number, known as a update number.
For example, in this case the update number would be 220101, followed by 0001.
This system is used to keep track of updates, with the most recent update being assigned a higher value.
But the field in which the update number is stored appears to have a limit of 31 bit, meaning the maximum value that can be inputted is two to the power of 31, or 2,147,483,648.
When the calendar ticked over to 2022, the naming system exceeded the maximum value and failed.
As a result, Microsoft’s anti-malware scanning software, which queues and checks messages before they are delivered to the recipient, is queueing emails and not sending them on.
Responding to reports of the issue reappearing, Microsoft said earlier this month that engineers had been ‘working around the clock on a fix’.