Definition

auto-correct fail (auto-correct error)

Part of the Personal computing glossary:

An auto-correct fail is an error that occurs when the software created to detect and correct misspelled words replaces a user-generated mistake with a different, and possibly worse, error.

Auto-correct software identifies misspelled words, uses algorithms to identify the words most likely to have been intended, and edits the text accordingly. Most word processors and messaging platforms of various types include auto-correct as a feature. 

Auto-correct programs work very well with common and straight-forward typos, such as "teh" for "the." However, when the error is less clear-cut, auto-correct programs can be unreliable. Usually, the errors are innocuous but there can be significant effects. In late April 2012, for example, two schools in Georgia were locked down after a student received the text message: "Gunman be at West Hall." The recipient (who was not the person the sender intended to contact) informed police immediately and security measures were put in place. The original message, however, was "gunna be at West Hall," sent to a friend  to say where they could meet. 

The incorrect replacement of misspelled words by auto-correct and spell-check programs is sometimes referred to as the Cupertino effect, a reference to the fact that Word ‘97 suggested Cupertino when "co-operation" was spelled without a hyphen. Cupertino is a small city in California, best known for being the home of Apple, whose iPhone auto-correct feature is notoriously error-prone.

This was last updated in October 2012
Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • virtual assistant

    - A virtual assistant is an electronic audio or audio/video avatar-centered program that uses artificial intelligence to perform tasks for the user. Virtual assistants have existed in concept for yea... (WhatIs.com)

  • bring your own apps (BYOA)

    - Bring your own apps (BYOA) is the trend toward employee use of third-party applications and cloud services in the workplace. BYOA, like the BYOD trend towards user-owned devices in the workplace, i... (WhatIs.com)

  • search operator

    - A search operator (sometimes referred to as a search parameter) is a character or string of characters used in a search engine query to narrow the focus of the search. Search operators are usually ... (WhatIs.com)

Glossaries

  • Personal computing

    - Terms related to personal computers, including definitions about computers sold as consumer products and words and phrases about laptops, tablets and smartphones.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.