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SwiftKey has just taken a huge step towards predicting every word you text

SwiftKey has launched a new mobile phone keyboard that could one day predict entire text messages based on events in your day.

The British company, which was bought by Microsoft in February, has released a system that is better at suggesting words as people type, saving time and making easier for people to connect with each other.

Using neural networks, SwiftKey, which features on more than 300 million devices, can “capture the relationship and similarity between words”, the company said. For example, having previously seen the phrase “Let’s meet at the airport”, the technology is able to infer that “office” or “hotel” are similar words that could also be appropriate predictions instead of “airport”.

It also understands that “Let’s meet at the airport” has a similar sentence structure to “Let’s chat at the office”. This allows SwiftKey to offer users the most appropriate prediction or autocorrection based on the sentence being typed.

Neural networks are a type of artificial intelligence that tries to replicate the processes of a human brain. Rather than using a digital model of ones and zeros, neural networks create connections and are effective for predicting events in a large database.


“We envision that this powerful technology will fundamentally change the way we type on smartphones over the next five years,” a SwiftKey spokesman said. “Rather than solely predicting your next word, we’re working hard on building a framework for the keyboard of tomorrow. It’s just possible that using this approach the keyboard of the future could know you so well, it’d accurately predict your entire messages for you, in your tone of voice, reflecting the events that go on in your daily life.”

SwiftKey’s new keyboard, which is the first time the company has rebuilt its technology “from the ground up” since its launch six years ago, will initially be released in US English and UK English on Android.