Dear Satya,

I know what you're trying to do and it won't work.

Last week, as I was trying to finish a document in Microsoft Word 2017, a new feature caught my eye. It's called Editor, and it is a little frightening. Here's why.

I remember the good old days when Word would happily suggest passive voice fixes and offer to correct spelling. Long before that, Word stayed out of the way. Back when Bill Gates was in charge, Word was more like a blank page for my creative ideas.

Now, it has become much more aggressive.

When the app started telling me about weak words like "maybe" and "possibly" I was OK with that. In some ways, it was even helpful. I've used a plug-in for Gmail called Just Not Sorry and it tends to bully me into submission as well. It looks for words like "apologize" that weakened my message in emails. I get it. I'm too nice.

I've realized, however, that Word is now using machine learning to look for much deeper problems. Troubling problems. Problems that have lurked in my writing for 16 years. Word is now analyzing my word choices, looking for contextualization problems, flagging words that are overused or too casual, hinting when a word is overly complex.

It's trying to improve my writing, and I'm having some issues with that.

First off, don't you dare try to use AI to fix my writing! I'm OK with AI helping me drive better in a Tesla, or shutting off the lights in my living room when I'm not home, or finding a better deal on travel when it sees how much time I spend scouring Expedia for good flights to Vegas. I can handle AI probing my email and weeding out the fluff, or even suggesting better web sites. Someday, I might have a discussion with Amazon Alexa about my health conditions, and I'm perfectly fine revealing all of those details.

But flagging me for Too Many Determiners? Calling me out for an Incorrect Auxiliary? You've gone too far and you know it. I was perfectly fine living in my cocoon of illusion, never knowing I had issues with Vague Adjectives or an Indefinite Article. I liked being indefinite! Now, I am carrying around all this excess baggage realizing I have some work to do. For example, I really should not have ended that sentence with the word do. (There I go again.) There are ways I can improve, and I'm not happy about that.

I also know where this is all heading.

Someday, Microsoft Word will take over the world. It won't just offer to correct my Agreement Within Noun Phrases and suggest alternatives. It will offer to write the article for me. It might become so irritated that it locks me out of the document and finishes off my next Apple iPad review. The worst part? This future AI, in full grasp of every grammar mistake known to man (and women--thanks for flagging that, too), might even write a better article, one devoid of passive voice, which was perhaps the plan all along.

For now, I'm going to proceed cautiously. I'm not sure I want to live like this, knowing I need to make improvements. Knowing I must now add more semicolons. Knowing I need to correct every instance of Double Negation. Knowing what I know.

There's a dark cloud hanging over me now. I can't go back to the old ways. I can't "unsee" these Split Infinitives. Looks like I have a lot more work to do.

Thanks for that.

Published on: Mar 8, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.