Swear Filter

What Does Swear Filter Mean?

A swear filter is a piece of code, software product or other technology that allows users to filter out words and phrases in administrating a given system. These types of tools, often practical in the design and implementation of new technologies, can also be controversial as they may reflect national laws, regional laws or societal norms.


Swear filters are also known as profanity filters.

Techopedia Explains Swear Filter

Some of the most interesting examples of swear filter use in new technologies are based on systems that have been designed to speak artificially, where input from the Internet or other sources may include profane language.

One example of this is IBM’s Watson supercomputer. This AI interface demonstrated its prowess at certain kinds of intellectual thought, beating human Jeopardy contestants, but further exploration reveals that while in taking information from Internet sites like Urban Dictionary, Watson internalized some profanity and other objectionable speech, which had to be controlled by a swear filter installed by Watson’s handlers.

The Watson example, as well as others, show how human administrators may need to perform manual corrections, as well as installing smart filters. A swear filter or other tool may not work universally, and may still require some human follow-up, due to the complexity of natural language processing and other relatively new fields of technologies.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…