Oranges are not going to be able see my tweets.
September 18, 2014 11:44 AM   Subscribe

I let Apple's QuickType keyboard take over my iPhone, Josh Lowensohn, the Verge, via Predictive poetry, Mark Liberman, Language Log.
posted by nangar (68 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Reminds me of Olivia Taters.
posted by aught at 11:48 AM on September 18, 2014


I'll try "Metafilter:" and see what happens...

Metafilter: the best of the best part of the day
posted by mullacc at 11:54 AM on September 18, 2014 [23 favorites]


Dinosaurs are the best thing about the future of the day before my birthday.

(Of course my seed word was dinosaurs.)
posted by brundlefly at 11:54 AM on September 18, 2014


Gorbachev Sings Tractors: Turnip!
posted by blue_beetle at 11:56 AM on September 18, 2014 [6 favorites]


heh, I've been doing this with Swiftkey autocomplete for a while. It seems to get stuck in loops sometimes
posted by rebent at 12:01 PM on September 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


Subtext & Predictive Text
posted by Johnny Assay at 12:02 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing this is basically a Markov chain, right? Maybe using your history as a/the input?
posted by threeants at 12:07 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


You are guessing that you can get a chance to win the game is at the end of the most important thing.
posted by contraption at 12:10 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hah. I found myself doing this very thing earlier today, just starting with "I / the / I'm" which I guess are the default words when replying in a conversation.

I don't remember where it went at the beginning but I ended it on the phrase "the most beautiful girl in the world" which seemed like the right thing.
posted by komara at 12:12 PM on September 18, 2014


I already disabled it. It's just a waste of screen space.

The first generation of Siri was a useless gimmick. Now it's great: I use Siri to set alarms and timers, to create reminders, to check my calendar, to get sports schedules and scores, and to prompt Google searches. I think predictive text is a different thing and I doubt I'll be similarly turned-around by its second generation, but who knows.
posted by cribcage at 12:13 PM on September 18, 2014


Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.

Son of a bitch.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:13 PM on September 18, 2014 [32 favorites]


cribcage, predictive text isn't "new", it's just new to ios. I've been using it on SwiftKey for years. And, it's pretty dang useful because you can start to type a long word like "indomitable" and it will suggest that word as soon as you're through "indo". Swiftkey (which keeps a lot of stats) calculates that I am 34% faster because of it.
posted by rebent at 12:17 PM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


This is a learning device, right? So it's going to useless until you type a lot and it learns. If so, then this feels like mocking the associations pandora made between songs before it go all the user feedback. "Lol. Stupid pandora thinks that coldplay listeners would like to hear Freddie Fender."
posted by dios at 12:19 PM on September 18, 2014


Just had a thought:

Predictive Sext.

Is this a thing? IS IT?!?!
posted by Fizz at 12:20 PM on September 18, 2014 [6 favorites]


it's just new to ios....because you can start to type a long word like "indomitable" and it will suggest that word as soon as you're through "indo".

It seems like my iphone has always done this too. Predictive text seems more like guessing the next word is going to be indomitable before you type the "i".
posted by dios at 12:21 PM on September 18, 2014


I tried this but all the suggestions were "ducking".
posted by asterix at 12:25 PM on September 18, 2014 [12 favorites]


"Metafilter.com, I get very angry when people say that I am not a good idea."
posted by zennie at 12:29 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


It seems like my iphone has always done this too. Predictive text seems more like guessing the next word is going to be indomitable before you type the "i".

Correct. This is in fact SwiftKey's key feature. When I start a text conversation on my Android, it actually assumes I'll want to say "Yeah" with alternate choices "Hey" and "I". "Yeah" leads to "I", "Hey" leads to "have", "I" leads to "can".

(I'm not sure what kind of sample space you're starting from if "indomitable" is ever guessed.)
posted by kmz at 12:31 PM on September 18, 2014


This is a few days of the new York NY and I am so I am so I am so I am so I am so I can you are you have a lot to the way of the way to see if you have a lot of this is not the way.
posted by boo_radley at 12:32 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, my iPhone has done that "indomitable" autocomplete thing for years. We'll agree to disagree that it's useful. In my experience, it's more common that you want the adverb but it suggests the noun so you have to backspace, and it's just easier to type the word quickly yourself...or, what I more commonly do, to use the dictation feature. That feature works great.

...except for one time when it switched between donut and doughnut in the middle of a sentence.
posted by cribcage at 12:32 PM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Just had a thought:

Predictive Sext.

Is this a thing? IS IT?!?!


Rule 43, brah.
posted by grubi at 12:33 PM on September 18, 2014


"Metafilter, the best of luck with your own home and family members and their children"
posted by penduluum at 12:33 PM on September 18, 2014


"Metafilter.com, I get very angry when people say that I am not a good idea."

If the next four words were "Have you tried therapy?", the Green is out of a job.
posted by Etrigan at 12:35 PM on September 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


Pooplay is the only thing that would have to go back and I don't think that I have a great way of the day before I get a follow back on my way home from work to be the first half of the day before I get a follow back on my way home from work to be the first half of the year and the other hand is the only thing that would have to go back and I don't think that I have a great way of life and the other hand is a good time with the other day I have a good time with the same thing that would have to be the best of the year and the first half of the year of high quality of life and the first half of the day I have to go.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:35 PM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


Predictive Sext.

Not exactly, but... Fifty Shades of Space Gray: Read erotic poetry constructed exclusively from iPhone 6 reviews
posted by kmz at 12:36 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was going to select poopstick as my seed word, but it suggested pooplay as soon as I got to poop, so I ran with it.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:38 PM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Can I get it to play Words with Friends for me?
posted by adamrice at 12:49 PM on September 18, 2014


I love when iPhone users get all excited about stuff that's been on other phones forever.
posted by octothorpe at 12:51 PM on September 18, 2014 [6 favorites]


"Markov!"

"Polo!"
posted by JHarris at 12:53 PM on September 18, 2014 [11 favorites]


I'm guessing this is basically a Markov chain, right? Maybe using your history as a/the input?

That's my impression looking at folks' various examples of output, yeah. Probably a three or four degree table, tuned against a very large corpus of existing conversational text so that it's not dependent solely on each user's input.

You can see how the weirdest inflection points where an autogenerated sentence loses the syntactical plot are around chains of prepositions and articles and other such glue words; when you're depending on the last two or three words for context and those words aren't overly semantically or syntactically flexible, the sentence structure is likely to come through, but with heavy-lifting words like "to", "a", "the", "of", "on", etc, there's a lot of different roles that can be played. Stick a couple of those together and all of a sudden your "let's guess based on the last two or three words where this is going" model has very little to work with.

Like, can you guess what word is going to come after the phrase "government officials" in a sentence? Not 100%, obviously, but even with just that context we can say there's a good chance it's a common verb about communication, like "said" or "told". Maybe a "declined"; maybe a prepositional connection like "in". But as a fixed phrase it provides some strong structural and semantic context.

Now guess what word is coming after "is a". Or "to the". Or "of the".

I would actually be really interested to read more details about what specific sort of model they're using, and what additional factors they're involving in the selection process.

One thing going for this kind of prediction system is that, unlike the usual markov-chain-as-absurdist-toy stuff that people end up being however tangentially aware of markov chains with, the goal here is banality rather than absurdity; normally you have to tune a markov process just right to hit the sweet spot of semi-coherent but weird output if you're aiming for laughs, but in this case they just want the least funny, most predictable/plausible output, so they can tune for that. And by only offering the three most likely next words, they help insure that banality to an extent; the best weirdness in a markov toy comes from when you get the less likely word from however many choices are available based on the current input, when it barfs up not "Back to the"..."future" but rather "Back to the"..."buttcrack", etc. Apple et al don't particularly want to delight you with a surprise buttcrack, they want to give you the actual boring old word you were planning to type anyway.
posted by cortex at 1:00 PM on September 18, 2014 [12 favorites]


I love when iPhone users get all excited about stuff that's been on other phones forever

Is it an iPhone thing or an American thing? Or both? Eddie Izzard, in 2003: "Predictive texting is so much fun! In America, it doesn't exist yet."
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:08 PM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Markov? Pavlov!

*Bell rings*
*Drools*
posted by filthy light thief at 1:22 PM on September 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


I think cortex's comment was produced using a Markov chain generator.
posted by slogger at 1:24 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


All of my comments are generated by a Markov chain process. It's just that it's a 100-degree table seeded in realtime by comments I type into the preview box, and so they're almost always word-for-word resyntheses of the source material with very little chance of wandering off into a butt patrol to the moon, Hitler.
posted by cortex at 1:31 PM on September 18, 2014 [34 favorites]


@The corpse in the library: T9 is considered predictive text.
posted by hellphish at 1:34 PM on September 18, 2014


I had malaria the week after I got my droid phone, and spent a week in the hospital with nothing else as entertainment or communication. My phone was pretty sure I always wanted to type something about malaria, insurance, hospitals, or blood transfusions for the next two or three months.
posted by ChuraChura at 1:34 PM on September 18, 2014 [6 favorites]


The most impressive/amusing application of this I saw on my (stock Android Google) keyboard was... OK, I had been trying to learn Portuguese with Duolingo for a while, which makes you repeat sentences a lot, and the word suggestion is disabled when you're using Duolingo. After a few months of this, I wanted to jokingly post Portuguese sentences in my G+, because Duolingo has some really nonsensical sentences ("Os pássaros leem o jornal"---"The birds read the newspaper").

And as I typed the Portuguese words in, the phone would suggest the next word in Portuguese.

Duolingo had been teaching not only me, but my phone, Portuguese.

(Markov chains---an untapped pedagogical approach in language learning?)
posted by seyirci at 1:41 PM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


After using it for a few years, I do find Swiftkey to get the next word right about a quarter of the time, especially for salutations. For formulaic phrases it becomes almost like a macro or autocomplete, but it learns from my typing rather than having to define it in some obscure settings menu.

The "word guess" feature, like T9 autocompletion, is where it really shines. I often only need to type the first letter or two for it to get a word, proper spelling and capitalization. This is really cool when it starts to learn things like street and email addresses.

I'm a big fan.
posted by bonehead at 1:42 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


It also does change the way I write. It's easier to hit the suggestion sometimes rather than write out something similar, but slightly different. So it bends my grammar into alignment with its generator.
posted by bonehead at 1:46 PM on September 18, 2014


Skynet v2: now with subtle human engineering to facilitate a smoother, less resistance-prone machine future.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:48 PM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


Moomins is a great day to be a good day to be a little bit of a new one is the best thing ever.
posted by matildaben at 2:03 PM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


"Metafilter the plastic it's OK to like."

Huh?
posted by Flashman at 2:23 PM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


I love when iPhone users get all excited about stuff that's been on other phones forever.

I'm fairly sure this was posted from an Android device and once octothorpe got to "iPh" it predicted the rest.
posted by mullacc at 2:24 PM on September 18, 2014 [14 favorites]


The part of the problem is that Hyde Park is a good sign that despite the fact that I am a US citizen and as such will need no special work authorization to the extent of the same reasons for the delay in getting back to me that we're being driven by the way to Iowa city.

SwiftKey owns me.
posted by PMdixon at 2:25 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


If I started using something like this, my writing would become so riddled with cliched phrasing that . . . . it would be very hard to tell I was using it.
posted by jamjam at 2:43 PM on September 18, 2014 [6 favorites]


"I love when iPhone users get all excited about stuff that's been on other phones forever."

Large phones didn't interest me previously, even when I held them. But i downloaded the template of the iPhone 6 Plus, held it and was instantly hooked. What was the difference? I can get one that doesn't run Android.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:57 PM on September 18, 2014 [7 favorites]


Actually, even the iPhone has had predictive text for a long time. Just not in English: the Japanese input method has been supporting it for as long as iOS supported Japanese at all (since 2008).

I have wondered why Apple withheld that feature from Western languages. My guess is that predictive input or something like it is already well-established among everyone who has ever used a Japanese word-processor, but it's a novel idea in Western languages, and Apple didn't want to confuse the novice smartphone user. But at this point, almost everyone in an industrialized nation who wants a smartphone already has one, and so Apple decided that we collectively are ready for something more advanced. Something similar is probably at work with abandoning the skeuomorphic interface elements.
posted by adamrice at 2:59 PM on September 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: the the The The The The The The
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:03 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


That decidedly did not go in the direction I'd expected.
posted by DoctorFedora at 3:05 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Bottle of vodka really is the best thing about being able to get a job though.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:07 PM on September 18, 2014 [6 favorites]


Ok I'll be able too late to get some stuff is there a new junker the one outfit for you?

I think mine is broken. Or high. The question mark was part of it, I didn't add that...or did I?
posted by sio42 at 3:11 PM on September 18, 2014


I was cracking up this morning sending predictive messages to my buddy. Silly fun.
posted by Fleebnork at 3:17 PM on September 18, 2014


I think it must be trained on an existing conversational corpus, since I type "when your" and the next suggestion is "bored". Yay for reinforcement of bad grammar.

I hope they haven't been training this on actual production data, though. Anyone try "Oswald acted..."?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 3:22 PM on September 18, 2014


When I first started using this feature of SwiftKey and typed in the first names of my daughter and my boss, it wanted to complete them into the names of porn actresses. I had never even heard of one of them; I didn't know who she was until I googled her name.
posted by Tool of the Conspiracy at 3:59 PM on September 18, 2014


"Predictive text" seems to be a thoroughly overloaded term at this point.

iOS has for a long time (I can't recall if its since the original iPhone) offered auto-complete. So as mentioned, you'll type "indo" and it might pop up a little thing under/over the word suggesting "indomitable".

What's new in iOS 8 is that the keyboard now has a small section at the top which will offer either completion suggestions or predictions for the next word you're going to type, like Swiftkey. iOS8 also enabled third-party keyboards, so Swiftkey is also available now, as is Swype and several others.
Eddie Izzard, in 2003: "Predictive texting is so much fun! In America, it doesn't exist yet yt ."
I think what Eddie would have been talking about is T9 predictive text, used on the old phones with number pads. I don't know what the bit about America is.
posted by dumbland at 4:47 PM on September 18, 2014


It's worth noting that as of two weeks ago, deep neural nets are officially better at Markov models, HMM's and Markov chains at everything they all do, except for being fast. Even with thousands and thousands of parallel computers and lots of cleverness, DNN's are not fast enough, but they'll get there. The important thing is long-range correlations: DNN's can do them, in a fairly terrible way.
posted by curuinor at 5:07 PM on September 18, 2014


Yeah, one of the beautiful things about Markov chains is how well they work for how dumb they are. The fundamental model of a Markov table can fit on a napkin and has pretty cheap, fast operations so long as storing the (relevant sub-)table of pre-computed data nearby isn't an issue.
posted by cortex at 5:15 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


T9 was a wonderful thing. I could write entire emails without looking at the keyboard.
posted by arcticseal at 5:41 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


adamrice: same. Chinese also. When in "draw characters with your finger" mode, it's way quicker to draw the first couple of strokes and choose which one you meant at the top than to draw the whole thing so terribly it can't even guess. (Or maybe that's just me)

Two native Mandarin speakers I know use two different input methods. One scribbles the whole character Swype-like without lifting her finger, and the iPhone is pretty dang good at figuring out what she drew. It's scribble, tap, scribble, tap, scribble, tap.

The other has it in typewriter input mode and types the first few letters of the Pinyin of the word, then chooses the suggested character from the menu. The iPhone is also really good at predicting what word she's going for by context, which is amazing to me considering how overloaded spellings are in a tonal language. W(tap), b(tap) y(tap)

I've always wished the iPhone could do that in English as well.
posted by ctmf at 6:43 PM on September 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Anyone having problems with predictive text just not appearing, evn though it's enabled?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:04 PM on September 18, 2014


No, but then again, I'm on an Android phone.
posted by boo_radley at 7:41 PM on September 18, 2014


"Anyone having problems with predictive text just not appearing, evn though it's enabled?"

If there's a thin dark gray bar with a white tab in the middle that's situated between your keyboard and the text entry box, grab that tab and drag upward. You might have minimized it somehow. Someone I know did that today.
posted by komara at 7:42 PM on September 18, 2014


hunh. I tried predictive type in the conment box: it freaked out and didn't have any decent suggestions. It would get stuck on the same collection of The/And/But time after time. And sometimes wouldn't have any suggestions at all.

But when I tried it in email the suggestions were significantly more interesting. So either its corpus for email or somehow, what I've typed previously in email, is much larger, namely:

Metafilter: I am not sure what to do with the best thing ever. The only thing that I can see you in my head is pounding and the other day I don't know how to make it so much better.
posted by leahwrenn at 8:20 PM on September 18, 2014


Seeded only with the letter "m" on an Android phone, I get:

"My mom. She was born. The first one. The first one. The first one. The first one."

I don't think that's right. Yes, my mother confirms that she is one of the Elder Gods, but not the eldest.
posted by langtonsant at 9:10 PM on September 18, 2014 [9 favorites]


"This is a great day to be a good day to be a great day to be a good day to be a great day to be a good day to be a great day to be a good day to be a great day to be a good day"

I'm glad it was at least a little chipper.
posted by montag2k at 11:00 PM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


SwiftKey not only learns from your own inputs, but also optionally can update every so often for trends from the internet. So, like, if you have that enabled, it's quicker on the uptake when everybody is typing things about Ferguson or Robin Williams. I almost never use the word suggestions because it interrupts my swipe flow but it's neat seeing the topical stuff pop up when I'm talking about it fresh without a training process.
posted by Corinth at 11:13 PM on September 18, 2014


Debating if this, and a few other features, is worth losing my jailbreak for. I really missed Android's version of this when I switched to iOS. But I will also lose f.lux, the ability to place icons in arbitrary positions on the grid, and adblock.

On the gripping hand, I'm about to go spend the next three weekends selling my comics at various conventions, and I don't think now is the time to be updating any OSs.
posted by egypturnash at 11:57 PM on September 18, 2014


Molly the best thing ever is when you get a new phone

PRODUCT PLACEMENT?
posted by Sweetie Darling at 10:24 AM on September 19, 2014


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