Red-faced Over A.I. Definition

At least one night a week I get to serve as proofreader at the Daily Globe. It isn’t every page I proof – basically it’s the front page, region and tri-state pages, business and nation/world news pages.

Proofreading a newspaper isn’t quite the same as just simply reading a newspaper. The first takes work, the second not so much. Proofreading takes time, whereas reading can be done quite quickly.

I will admit there are things that can get by the best of proofreaders, no matter how careful we are. Spelling errors, incorrect dates on pages and unending sentences are among the worst mistakes.

Aside from looking for errors, proofreading is always educational. Take, for instance, my experience this evening.

I should preface this by saying I’m a farm girl – just in case you didn’t know that fact already or hadn’t gleaned it from the name of my blog.

Anyway, I was proofreading a story on the business page for Friday about driving sim games. To be honest, I had never heard of driving sim games – or at least I hadn’t heard them referred to as that. Sim was short for simulation, which made me think of my brother’s old Atari game of “Pole Position.”

OK, that I could visualize, making the first sentence of the story “make some sense” for me.

Then came the last sentence of the first paragraph:

“Both titles require a lead foot and laser focus as the built-in AI skills are canny and aggressive.”


I read it again, just to make sure I wasn’t seeing things.

What? I don’t get it.

Now, the farm girl in me was intepreting the AI to be, of course, artificial insemination. The reference comes up from time to time in ag publications, as well as my farm vocabulary.

Well, by the third time I’d read the sentence through the third time I was not only shaking my head, but starting to giggle. That’s when I read the sentence aloud to copy editor Joe.

Then it was his turn to shake his head and giggle at me.

Two words were all he needed to say: “Artificial Intelligence!”


(I must say, Joe had never heard of the farm definition of AI, which made us both blush!)

It certainly does make more sense to put his definition in the sentence … “built-in ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE skills are canny and aggressive.”

That sounds so much better than canny and aggressive AI of the farm reporter’s definition!