More often than not, the “Autocorrect” function has become, since 2010, a useful tool when generating electronic messages.  Rather than expose the writer to ridicule for misspelling or require later editing, Autocorrect will edit and change the spelling as the writer proceeds saving both time and reputation.  This is certainly useful.  Ironically, however, Autocorrect needs editing in turn or else the writer may send an unintentionally embarrassing text.

For example, one music teacher delightedly posted the photograph of a young pianist with the “autocorrected” caption: “So proud of my student after her rectal performance.”   Another writer can probably expect a visit from the authorities after posting a recipe for “I-Taliban meatballs.”  Any relationships is bound to suffer when a respondent had “No, I don’t” autocorrected to “No, idiot.”  Probably true but not likely to get him hired was one job applicant’s “Thank you” note autocorrected to: “It was a pressure meeting you.”  And one drama teacher might have had much to explain to the police when her “auditioning of kids” was autocorrected to “auctioning kids.”  Fortunately, she caught the error in time.  Her correction was autocorrected to “suctioning kids.”  

Usually Autocorrect will sabotage any message I send that involves Hebrew expressions written phonetically in English.  But I also have a personal autocorrect error to report that actually improved on my intention.  Sending one of my daughters a message with the subject heading “Hugs and Kisses,” Autocorrect changed the reading to “Huge Kisses,” as good as – if not better than – the original heading.

My experiences with Autocorrect have led me to two observations.  First, it would be wonderful if human behavior had an Autocorrect function.  It would work something like this.  Before a criminal or immoral act could be performed, ethical Autocorrect would overrule the act about to be performed and alter the conduct.  However, given the fact that there is no guarantee that the correction would be any better, its utility remains in question.  This leads to the second observation.  Autocorrect is not the same as automatic correct.  In the end, every moral agent must examine his or her own conduct and correct the errors her or himself.   Ethical improvement is a direct function or personal choice and will.

Examining one’s behavior and correcting it is exactly what Judaism demands and precisely at this time of year.  May we all engage in the process and succeed in achieving the proper outcome.


Words to Live By

What lies behind you and what lies ahead of you pales in comparison to what lies inside you.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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