The weirdo glitch poetry of Apple’s QuickType

On Wednesday, Apple released its newest mobile operating system iOS 8. One new feature, QuickType, tries to predict what you’re going to write next, in order to save you an imperceptible amount time. According to Apple, it’s their “smartest keyboard ever.”

This isn’t saying much, considering the very low standard set by autocorrect, but it’s certainly a lofty claim worth testing the limits of. I decided to surrender myself completely to it, letting it choose every word.

QuickType features three columns, each providing a different suggestion of a word you might want to type, based on the previous typed word.

QuickType-Columns

When you choose only words in the first column, it starts looping variations of “good day.”

QuickType-1

There’s slightly more variety when you alternate between the first and second columns.

QuickType-2

It becomes somewhat coherent when you alternate between all three.

QuickType-3

To push the experiment further, I started texting all of my friends, allowing QuickType to choose every* word.

*I used a random word generator to select the first word to avoid repeating phrases in each text.

Most of the texts read like a cross between Gertrude Stein, an Oulipo exercise, and Horse_eBooks.

QuickType-Josh

Some friends thought I was drunk.

QuickType-Megan

After this last text, Kristina wrote me on Gchat: “WHY ARE YOU SENDING CODED MESSAGES.”

QuickType-Kristina

Other friends worried about me.

QuickType-Christina

My mom was not pleased. (Even though both of these statements are very true.)

QuickType-Mom

QuickType basically turns you into a bot. As a means of communicating anything significant with real people, assuming you aren’t a Nigerian Prince seeking to transfer an immense amount of wealth, it seems useless. As a writing exercise, however, it’s fascinating. I’m eagerly anticipating reading experimental fiction written using only predictive text, and to see where the glitches lead us.