IBM's supercomputer Watson can check and correct the tone of your writing

Clara Guibourg
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Spell check is old news. Now you can tone check (Source: Getty)

Worried about how you’re coming across in emails?

There’s an app for that (sort of). IBM’s Watson now has a feature that can critique the tone of your messages.

Think of it as a tone check rather than a spell check, if you will. IBM engineer Rama Akkiraju writes:

To read a message and to judge the tone conveyed in the message comes naturally to humans. But, at times, the tone may be overlooked, undesired, or not conveyed well by the author. Can a computer detect the tones conveyed in a message accurately and automatically?

It's currently at an experimental stage, but you can try it out here. The supercomputer’s tone analyser divides up the words of your text into categories like “open”, “cheerful” or “analytical” and assesses them as either positive or negative.

If you’re not happy with the overall impression Watson says your text is giving off, you can always make use of its suggested edits. Watson kindly offers pointers about what words you could change to alter and strengthen the desired tone.

This natural language analysis from Watson, recently best known as the supercomputer that defeated the world’s top Jeopardy players in 2011, is just the latest example of computers breaking down boundaries.

Robots these days, hey? Not only do they beat us at trivia games, now they’re even criticising our writing...

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