Alice laughed: Amusing auto-abbreviations in yesterday’s Atlantic

Writing online for the Atlantic, staff writer Niraj Chokshi yesterday noted the surprisingly poetic nonsense that is generated by Microsoft Word’s “autosummarize” feature. Appropriately, he tested the feature on Through the Looking-Glass and the result is rather striking:

Alice began. Alice asked.
Alice asked. Alice laughed. Alice laughed. Alice pleaded. Alice explained.
Alice interrupted.
Alice enquired.
Queen Alice

What this might suggest about the priorities of the 21st century office environment and the software developers who serve it, I can only begin to fathom.

The full article, Microsoft Word: A Poet in the Machine, is inspired by “New Media Artist” Jason Huff, who used Word’s “autosummarize’” feature to generate ten-sentence abstracts of the top 100 most-downloaded, out-of-copyright works. Previews of the resulting book, AutoSummarize, can be found on his website and make very entertaining reading.


2 thoughts on “Alice laughed: Amusing auto-abbreviations in yesterday’s Atlantic

  1. It makes me think of “Jesus Wept” (John 11:35), the shortest verse of the bible, & a good autosummary of the New Testament.

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