As Park residents continue to embrace Human-made technology (HMT), experts have voiced concern about its psychological effects on Animals.
At a two-day conference at the University of West Terrier this past week, faculty members from the Torgeir School of Information Technology and the Departments of Psychology and Interspecial Studies discussed a variety of problems related specifically to language found in software used for word processing, texting, and email.
“The problem with much of the software, particularly with tools such as spell check and autocorrect, is that it still is not configured to deal with many of the nuances of Animal life,” technology expert Llewellyn Fox told the conference attendees.
Fox is an adjunct professor of technology at the University of West Terrier and president of the computer consulting company Quick Brown Fox Technologies, S.A.
Citing examples from his bestselling book, “The Lazy Dog’s Guide to Technology,” Fox lamented the dearth of Animal-appropriate software and laid the blame for many of our youth’s problems—including low self-esteem—on the species that developed it.
“The problem is that certain features of the applications, which have been designed by and for Humans, are what he termed “Humano-centric.”
“Their core functions appear to be trans-special,” he emphasized, “and, as such, they are easy for the average Animal to use, but this is deceiving.” The trouble occurs, he said, when some of the applications’ tools are used.
As an example, Fox pointed to what he considers a glitch in spell check and autocorrect, tools that are used in word processing and, more importantly, in texting and email functions: “No matter what species you key in, the word processor supplies the initial letter in the lower case. This, as we know, is the grammar of Humans, but it is not the grammar of Animals.”
“Some Animals might not see this as anything more than a nuisance,” he admitted. And, of course, the software can be set to change a lower case Animal name to an upper case one manually.
But the problem is less a practical one and more a matter of attitude, he told the academic gathering. And his colleagues seemed to agree.
“It’s not just a matter of a capital letter here or there. This is but one small example. Our young are now being raised on this software, and already they’ve started to write the way Humans do—partly because it takes less effort to let the software dictate the way you express yourself.”
Additional areas of concern that Fox discussed at the gathering were the dictionary and several other language tools. These functions, he said, provide the user’s vocabulary.
“It’s not so much a problem with the words that the software does supply,” he emphasized. “My complaint is that Animals are likely to be told by this software that the words they key in—that they use in everyday speech and writing—do not exist.”
Fox is not alone in being wary of Human software. Several newspapers in The Park, including The Mammalian Daily, have successfully negotiated with software companies to offer a choice of different Animal dictionaries in their word processing software. But not all Animals are even aware they have a choice.
“We tend to use what’s put in front of us and that soon becomes the norm. It becomes all that we know,” Fox said.