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Gmail smart replies may be creepy, but they're catching on like wildfire

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This summer, Gmail’s billion-plus users received a new chill-but-efficient way to answer emails: Smart Reply.

Smart Reply is Gmail’s suggested response feature. At the bottom of received emails, Gmail serves three short phrases that its AI has determined are appropriate and relevant responses. Popular responses are phrases like “Awesome,” or “Sounds good, let me know.” 

The feature was initially available just in the Inbox app, but rolled out in the new version of Gmail to all users in July. 

As the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, the responses sometimes sound anachronistic, curt, or out of character for the writers. Personally, I can’t decide whether Google frequently suggesting phrases that I myself was about to write is helpful or irksome. I have also wondered whether saving a few seconds of not having to type “ok, sounds good” is worth letting a robot mediate my interactions with other humans. Or if the impulse to hit a button instead of form a thought could in some way stymie my own expression, even in rote communications. Read more…

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