Pet Please #59: Out-Typing Autofill

There is a classic episode of The Office in which Dwight attempts to outsell the newly launched Dunder-Mifflin website. It’s a back-and-forth contest that lasts the entire workday, and at the end of the day, Dwight dies with a hammer in his hand (wait, I might have just confused that with the legend of John Henry. Either way).

In this golden age of technology, we’re no match for the machines. Satellites can track a person to within a yard of their current location. Lawn mowers can cut your grass for you. TiVo can find your favorite show at any time on any channel. And now Photoshop can unblur blurry photos by processing the direction the camera was moving when the photo was taken and correcting the image.

A prime example of this is autofill. Nonexistent 10 years ago, predictive text is now ubiquitous on our cell phones, iTunes, Amazon, and online search engines. Google knows what we’re looking for before we do.

Thus I always feel extra special when I finish typing my search before autofill predicts it for me. It’s a small victory, but it feels great every time.

The day will come when humans are no match for autofill. But until that day, I will stand triumphant over my computer, hammer in one hand, loincloth in the other. This one’s for the humans!