Saturday, November 26, 2005

Google shows 41 search results for "Koki Anna". Why? Because a certain word processor flags U.N. Secretary General's name, Kofi Annan, as a misspelling, then suggests Koki Anna as a correction. So you end up seeing documents that have the wrong spelling of his name, including a page on the U.N.'s own web site. How embarassing!

I have mixed feelings about this. Part of me is old-fashioned and thinks everyone should learn spelling, grammar, arithmetic, etc. But part of me thinks as human beings get augmented with computers (including PDAs and cell phones), we shouldn't bother learning mechanical tasks like arithmetic and spelling. Computers are better at following rules. Human brains are better at breaking rules. Memorization is a very inefficient use of our brains. We should spend our brainpower on creativity, learning patterns, and designing things. Until that day comes, however, we should all learn how to spell.

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