The E-Prime and Nonviolent Communication Algorithm
I want to share you with an idea that I’ve had for a while that I think would be very helpful for me, and may be helpful for everyone (if they want it, of course). You may ask what this has to do with the Dark Android Project, but what this is relative to as far as Dark Android is one of the key (pun) security holes that I bring up often: the touchscreen keyboard. Of course, this could apply to any keyboard, but the ever-configurable touchscreen keyboard would likely be the place this could really take effect.
The idea is simple, and merely requires an algorithm, and in some ways is already being done…
What I’d like is for the keyboard version of Skype’s recent Skype Translator functionality that allows you to talk with someone–audio or video–via Skype, and Skype will near-instantly translate the language of the person you are talking to into your language (if they happen to speak a different one, of course). This is a remarkable technology that smacks of Star Trek‘s long-theorized “Universal Translator“, and I’m sure is going to shake things up in the very near future as far as not just how, but whom, you communicate with (and, yes, unfortunately this presently only available through the privacy-atrocity that is Skype).
But I’d love to see this kind of functionality come to text, not just to audio and video, and I know I’m not the first one with this idea (though, as you’ll see, I do have something unique up my sleeve). In some ways, Google Translate, Microsoft Translate, and others already do this, but it’s not real-time. What I’m suggesting is that as you type things out on a keyboard–or the messaging app could do this automatically–what you are typing would automatically translate into the language of the person you’re communicating with. I know, you’re thinking that Facebook and Hangouts can largely already do this.
I want to take it one step further, though.
Consider the “politeness algorithm” from FoxType Labs. You enter a sentence on that site, and it instantly–algorithmically–turns whatever you’re emailing or texting into something more “polite”. It’s a clever idea. Now granted, I could see how these sorts of things–like what FoxType is doing–could get abused, and I’m sure there’s a whole slew of people saying, “This is how “political correctness” is going to get forced upon us!“, yada yada yada, but I’m pretty sure that sort of app or keyboard is never going to dominate (or even be popular among) our forms of communication.
But there is tremendous potential here for education and for improved personal connections and communication. Many people learn by example, and if say you wanted to express something more politely, or more empathetically, or whatever…a keyboard or app that does this automatic “sentence fixing” would be very beneficial, in my opinion. You could see how to say those things you want to say. When you can’t find the words, the app could give you a hand finding them.
Certainly, I wouldn’t want people to rely on an app for this sort of thing, but if it could help people learn how to express themselves more and in more connecting ways, all the better.
And this is where my unique thought comes in: What if you could build a “text translator” app that could reorganize your text into “languages” like E-Prime and/or Nonviolent Communication? I put the word “languages” in quotes because E-Prime and NVC (Non-Violent Communication) are subsets–or perhaps, improvements–of the English language (and though it may shock some, I’m a huge fan of both “languages”). However, they offer very different results and offer very different concepts than what “good ol’ English” can provide. I suggest you look into E-Prime and NVC if you never have, they present a fascinating new world of human possibilities, in my opinion (yes, words are that important, and that powerful).
Again, I wouldn’t want anyone to solely rely on this for communicating, but I do think it would be a powerful tool for helping people learn how to say things in E-Prime and/or NVC, and thus have a better personal connection with others and even themselves. All it takes is a keyboard or app to put it all together.
Hell, you could go even further and have word processing apps like AbiWord, or even Microsoft Word, allow you to write entire papers or novels in E-Prime or NVC. Whole new forms of education and entertainment could come into the world that much faster if these tools existed. I think it’s an exciting idea (and I’m usually not for algorithms, as late).
There’s no doubt that this wouldn’t appeal to everyone, and that’s fine. Not everything has to be made to make everyone happy. If I weren’t so busy in game development, Sovryn Tech, and other creations, I would certainly do what I could to create the app/keyboard myself. But if anyone wants to jump in on something that could help create near-literally a new future for many (again, seriously, words and language are that powerful), I think this would be a good place to start.