Google's keyboard application has seen over 500 million downloads, but yesterday's user had an unfortunate experience completing the program automatically. Since then, the phenomenon has attracted a great deal of attention.
This caused other Gboard users to redo the effect – which made them successful, although it's worth noting that only Android devices had this problem.
The issue was originally published on Twitter by Cory Doctorow, an activist and father. Allegedly, he sent a text asking if his babysitter could "sit" on a particular day. However, Google Keyboard had different plans for what the text should look like. It completed the text with "sit on my face". Obviously, that was a long way from what he was up to, and not something you want to send to your babysitter.
The tweet caught the attention of Buzzfeed News who contacted Google for comment. A speaker addressed the problem and informed them that a patch was on the way.
Machine learning is a complex thing, and the models sometimes pick up inappropriate terms without wanting to. For this reason, your phone does not always detect vulgarities, resulting in the infamous "Duck Auto-Correction".
Gboard uses personal and generic language models to serve its user base, which explains why this unfortunate proposal was given to other users. It is a piece of general data based on previous human language research. So it was added when Gboard's prediction software was updated.
I sent our babysitter SMS using the standard Android SMS app; I typed "Hey! Are you free to sit" and Autocomplete came up with "on my face." Needless to say, I never entered this string into my Android device. (19659000) – Son of an Asylum Seeker, Father of an Immigrant (@doctorow) July 27, 2018
"With Gboard, we've come up with a solution to this predictive behavior so that users will no longer see this proposal," said the unnamed Google Spokesman Buzzfeed . "If we find out about an inappropriate proposal, we'll quickly work to remove it."
It is not known when the patch will go into production. Until the release of the fix, users stay on their own – forgive the pun.
Fortunately, Gboard allows users to customize their experience with the app. You can easily remove suggestions by dragging them to the trash that appears when you tap and hold a word / phrase. You can also save words in your personal library to prevent accidental auto corrections.
So if your Android phone suggests sexual activity, you can stop the algorithm in its tracks. This incident also serves as a reminder to review your texts before sending. There are whole websites that deal with auto-correct errors and do not accidentally land on one of them.