I Sing The Body Electric

There are those who believe that the world shall not truly attain wonderment until consciousness may be extracted from icky yucky bodies and downloaded into some matrix, machine, tube.

Perhaps this is why most of the 1400 English words that Google has deemed inappropriate for its Android involve bodies. More specifically, bodies carnally at work and at play. Which, as is well-known, can first there is no body, then there is a body, then there isn'tresult in the production of more bodies.

These words, they are eschewed, maybe, because Android, it is impatient, for that day. The day when bodies shall be obviated.

There’s no “sex” at the Googleplex.

Type or swipe the word on the latest version of Android’s Google Keyboard—or for that matter “intercourse,” “coitus,” “screwing” or even “lovemaking”—and the web giant’s predictive algorithm will offer no help.

These are just a few examples from an obsessive, and often baffling list of more than 1,400 English words that Google has quietly deemed inappropriate for Android users.

The banned directory includes “butt” and “geek,” all seven of George Carlin’s dirty words, a frat party’s worth of homophobia and misogyny, and is peppered with pornographic sub genres and fetishistically obscure medical terms, like “gonadatrophia” and “irrumination.” Genitalia is banned (with special attention paid to women’s bodies)[.]

Taken as a whole, Google’s list suggests not only a surprising discomfort with sexuality, but also reproductive health and undergarments. Words like “panty,” “braless,” “Tampax,” “lactation,” and “preggers” are censored along with sexual health vocabulary like “uterus” and “STI.”

“I try to Swype-type the word ‘condom’ and I get ‘condition’ or ‘confusion,’” said Jillian York, a spokesperson for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “There is no context in which that makes any sense. Grow up, Android.”

Bodies, sure, they can be a drag. But there’s a reason why we’re in them. For we don’t have to be. Consciousness can remain bodyless and whole and undifferentiated. If it wants to. But it doesn’t seem to want to.

Unfortunately, once we get here, into these bodies, we seem to forget why that is. The answer, I think, can be pretty simply stated. “The universe,” as my colleague puts it, “wants to taste itself.”

2 Responses to “I Sing The Body Electric”

  1. 1 Julia Rain (the deviant daughter) December 7, 2013 at 1:54 am

    As an android user, that actually explains a lot. The autocorrect and the “best guess” features do make for some entertaining mix-ups at least. Such as when I swipe-typed the word “homework” and was instead presented with the word “Holmfirth”, which after consulting Google I learned was a small village somewhere in England. I wondered why on Earth the algorithm would guess I wanted to talk about a small English village rather than homework, but then it dawned on me: my android knows me better than I thought.

    • 2 bluenred December 8, 2013 at 2:27 am

      I’m sorry, but when I see the word “holmfirth,” my mind instantly translates it into “holmfilth,” and I picture some sort of deeply disturbed, bad-teeth-and-bad accent, wildly divergent, form of British pornography.

      Surely this is not what the Android intended.

      Or, maybe it did. ; )

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When I Worked

December 2013

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