With machine learning paving the way for an artificial intelligence revolution, we’re seeing an army of new tools that promise to improve the way we communicate. From smarter translation technology to speech recognition and algorithms that can “read” text in images, things are getting interesting in the AI arena.
Another kind of tool that’s getting smarter thanks to AI is the humble proofreading services tool. The days of shoddy spell checking we remember from Microsoft Word on Windows 98 are coming to an end. Replacing it is a new breed of proofreading services tools that promise to make everyone better writers – but how good are they in 2017?
Say hello to Atomic Reach
One such tool promising to change the way we write and proofread our work is Atomic Reach. This AI tool uses neural networks and machine learning to increase its knowledge of the English language and the kind of mistakes we typically make when writing in it. With more than three articles already in its database, and more being added all the time, Atomic Reach is getting smarter all the time.
So should our proofreading services team be worried?
Well, let’s start by asking what kind of writing mistakes Atomic Reach is capable of correcting. First of all, it’s pretty good at picking up common words misuses – for example, saying “less” when “fewer” is grammatically more correct. It will also point out common typos like using the singular version of a noun when the rest of our sentence requires a plural noun. While it’s impressively good at picking out spelling mistakes and typos that you might not even see when checking back over your work.
Atomic Reach isn’t alone
Atomic Reach isn’t the only proofreading services tool capable of correcting our wrongs. Grammarly and Yoast are capable of similar, picking out comparable mistakes and they’re not the only ones. This kind of technology is advancing at an impressive rate and they’re only going to continue improving as their machine learning algorithms analyse more content.
This is a competitive industry and you can expect a lot more names to be filling up the AI proofreading services niche in the coming years. It’s also a safe bet to assume the likes of Microsoft, Google and Apple will make an effort to lead the way with this kind of technology – or simply buy out the best platforms that do all the hard work on their behalf.
So does this mean we’re approaching a near future where we no longer need to proofread our work?
The limits of “proofreading services” technology
The new wave of AI proofreading services tools is genuinely impressive. Platforms like Atomic Reach significantly reduce the risk of spelling mistakes making their way into your published content and even fix a good selection of grammar mistakes, too.
Will they ever get to a point where they’ll be better than linguistic experts with grammar? Well, let’s just say they’re nowhere close at this stage and we simply don’t know if AI will ever be capable of matching human understanding in this regard.
Grammar rules are one thing, but proofreading isn’t a binary process where you can always rely on fixed rules (even if you argue grammar rules are, in fact, fixed). A proofreader is there to check your sarcasm comes across sarcastically enough – or not too much so. Likewise, a professional proofreader should be the one to tell you when the irony in your metaphors doesn’t come across or the tone of voice you’re trying to capture doesn’t shine through.
Artificial intelligence will make a great proofreading services tool for instructional manuals, recipes and process descriptions. Ask it to proofread an advertising script, novel or anything else creative and it will struggle to be anything more than a spellchecker. This is still significant progress for writers and proofreaders alike, though. A more reliable breed of spelling and grammar checks will make it easier to proofread large volumes of text and concentrate more on the message rather than looking for the odd misplaced apostrophe. As with most advances in artificial intelligence right now, AI proofreading services tools are helping proofreaders to do their job more effectively – and this is welcome news for everyone.
Speak to our proofreaders and they’ll be the first to tell you platforms like Atomic Reach are doing impressive things. They’re not a threat to professional proofreaders by any means, but rather a tool they’ll be using to handle large, complex projects more effectively.