Why is autocorrect on the iPhone still so terrible?
We've all been there. You write simple sentences like "What did you eat today?" and "What is causing this great event?" Autocorrect errors are so common and have been around for so long that we hardly recognize them unless they're unintentionally hilarious. And it works slowly than even paper scanning machine.
Why is this happening? It's been 15 years since the iPhone, the main touch keyboard input device, and AutoCorrect changed us in one way or another from the 1990s when Word automatically corrected accidental or missing characters.
About 20 years ago I first heard the term "March 9" (although I don't know where it came from). I researched and wrote the latest dictation program. This was when computer users had to buy software like Dragon Dictate to talk to their devices. A spelling program with 90° accuracy sounds good but is useless. If you have to correct ten words, you won't save much time. Even 99 accuracy is not enough. This is hilarious 99.9% of the time... if you can type 1000 words into a computer and only have to correct one word, that's a huge time saver (not to mention amazing accessibility).
But 99 accuracy, not just 9%, is better than 90%. That's actually a 1000% improvement, a 10x improvement when the error rate goes from 10 wrong words to 100 wrong words. Because of the precision of the automatic process, each step makes the "nine" a little better for humans, but you have to multiply by ten to get there. In other words, 99.9999% doesn't sound much better to the user than 99.999%, but it's still 10 times harder on the computer. Is autocorrect stuck on the "March 9" field? Will he take mysterious steps that seem insignificant to us? I don't think the error rate of autocorrect is still high, while the computing power (especially for machine learning tasks) is hundreds of times what it was a decade ago. I think it's time to look elsewhere.