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Communications AI Google

Google Tries To Guess Your Email Responses ( 131

An anonymous reader writes: Google's research blog today announced a new feature for their Inbox email app: a neural network that composes short responses to emails you receive. For example, if somebody emails you an invitation to an event, the app will detect that by scanning the words in the message and present you with three options for a quick response. Google says, "A naive attempt to build a response generation system might depend on hand-crafted rules for common reply scenarios. But in practice, any engineer's ability to invent 'rules' would be quickly outstripped by the tremendous diversity with which real people communicate. A machine-learned system, by contrast, implicitly captures diverse situations, writing styles, and tones. These systems generalize better, and handle completely new inputs more gracefully than brittle, rule-based systems ever could." Of course, you can skip them entirely, or use them and add your own words as well. How long until our email systems do most of our talking for us?
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Google Tries To Guess Your Email Responses

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  • by wardrich86 ( 4092007 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @05:02PM (#50858809)
    So basically, Google is pushing to completely remove me and replace me with a tiny script. :(
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @05:19PM (#50858897)


      This post generated by Google's automatic content creation script.

    • by rsborg ( 111459 )

      So basically, Google is pushing to completely remove me and replace me with a tiny script. :(

      Yes, all the BOFH [1] are belong to Google, apparently.

      [1] []

      • by Sowelu ( 713889 )

        Never thought I'd see the day when someone on Slashdot would need to define BOFH.

        • by rsborg ( 111459 )

          Never thought I'd see the day when someone on Slashdot would need to define BOFH.

          LOL - I tried to find a quote where BOFH actually threatens to replace someone with a script, but neither Google nor DDG were useful to me in 30s so I gave up and linked the wiki.

          I have optimized my /. posting to increase productivity.

        • Never thought I'd see the day when someone on Slashdot would need to define BOFH.

          Welcome to the new millennium, where IT is always outsourced and one has no idea who is actually responsible when anything breaks and there are a myriad of interchangeable BOFHs just an international phone call away.

        • I don't, kids today are traumatized by "micro aggression" (whatever the fuck that is), so when they encounter a mean son of a bitch like BOFH they drop dead on the spot, which explains why the other kids have never heard of BOFH.
          Now get off my lawn!

    • Google is only trying to make us more efficient and reduce the amount of time we waste not staring at ads.

      • Right on! Seriously though, I'd love to have a discussion, if not here then through an "Ask Slashdot" topic, on what all of this extra free time that automation gives us, is for? I feel like it's hitting some kind of tipping point for me, where I actively avoid automation, so that I can have an actual interaction with an actual human being once in a while. It still pains me that these credit card machines exist, which force me to stop talking with the nice checkout person while I figure out how to na

        • Unclean? No. But I definitely do whatever I can at times for some human interaction... Automated phone systems especially piss me off. And self check-outs are okay if I'm just in to grab something small or quick.
        • I don't use social media for my personal relationships. I use face-to-face time for them. Facebook itself is a communications medium and a way of keeping track of people I used to have a personal relationship with (and would again if we were to meet).

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      No, pretty much Google is trying to fabricate an excuse for being even more private communications invasive. What next an Adroid app that you and a partner share on your phones about the most appropriate sexual manoeuvres to align orgasm. With a remote probe to insert if your nethers should you not be actively using that orifice. So ideas are wildy inappropriate and the real idea behind the gimmick they are claiming is of course hugely wildly inappropriate. So gauging your individual response to communicat

      • Google has been reading your mail, deeply, for over a decade. This is just them letting you know how good they are at it. Personally, I think they should push services like this to make people aware of just how much their "private" communications are scrutinized and processed, not only by Google, but by anyone with access to the data stream.

        Don't like it? Encrypt.

      • Could you have constructed a more ridiculous Slippery Slope fallacy? Let's try:

        Google Health: What's next, Google Death Camps?

        Google Translate: What's next, mandatory voice implants?

        Google Wallet: What's next, the overthrow of capitalism?

        Project Loon: What's next, orbital mind control platforms?

        Google Doodles: What's next, Lovecraftian horrors, the very sight of which induces madness?!

        Hmm, not quite zany enough. Oooh, I know!

        Google's self-driving car: What's next, Google Sex Bots?!

        (And the answer is, "Yes p

      • I think you've identified a new potential market. Are you going to form a startup?

    • So basically, Google is pushing to completely remove me and replace me with a tiny script. :(

      "Yeah", said Zaphod with a sudden evil grin, "you'd just have to program it to say What? and I don't understand and Where's the tea? - who'd know the difference?"

    • You really don't want to take the time to hand-craft a polite and thoughtful response, so they give you the option to click on a canned one and use that instead.

      It's greeting cards, modernized.

    • So basically, Google is pushing to completely remove me and replace me with a tiny script. :(

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I'll take a look into "remove me" as soon as I can. In the meantime you can contact your IT business partner for more information about our efforts to "remove me and replace me with a tiny script." Have a nice day.


  • by Anonymous Coward

    The neural networks could just bounce messages back and forth, we don't need people actually reading them. This reminds me the bureaucracy of the state apparatus where offices exist just for the sake of other offices having work to do. If the problem that this is trying to solve is that people are getting too many emails they need to respond to then they should reduce that amount instead of automating responses.

    • by Sowelu ( 713889 )

      Maybe I'm too naive, but this doesn't sound like it's solving the problem of "too many emails", but instead the problem of "users need a keyboard to respond to emails efficiently". If I can't escape the office, at least it would be nice to get away from the desk.

  • How long could you ping pong a dialog between 2 Gmail accounts?

    • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      It doesn't say it automatically responds, it says it presents YOU with three quick responses you can send. Just saves some typing.

      • It doesn't say it automatically responds, it says it presents YOU with three quick responses you can send. Just saves some typing.

        Agreed, I don't see what's so heinous about this. It gives you a few choices of common responses that may be all you need to use. Why should I have to type out the same thing to a 100 different people day after day when they all just need more or less the same response?

        I keep a small text file with common responses to questions that some clients ask and that some of the people using the contact forms on my sites ask. It provides a quicker and more consistent response and I can always edit the response if n

    • meta-x psychoanalyze-pinhead
  • It will save tons of time on all those repetitive replies like "Mmm, that would feel so good baby," and "Then I'd flip you over and do the same to you until you screamed with pleasure." I've been getting really bogged down with that type of thing lately.

  • So all conversations will sound like someone playing Eliza far too long?

  • Clippy (Score:4, Funny)

    by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @05:21PM (#50858933)
    You know a company is out of ideas when they reinvent Clippy.
    • It looks like you're trying to come up with new ideas. Would you like some help with that?

      • It looks like you're trying to be funny. Would you like some help with that?
        • It looks like you are typing a suicide note. Would you like some help with that?

  • This is literally how the book Avogadro Corp starts. Singularity ensues. []
  • Just let the neural network send and reply to e-mails. I never even have to LOOK at my e-mail ever again!

  • If the algorithm isn't any better than Google's filter bubble for Google News, it will be completely laughable.

  • I stopped using that app, in addition while they are "auto answering" for you, and you are vetting the answer what you're really doing is "tuning" their software response for free.

    In other words as their software interprets your email, you are validating the automated response for them.

  • I ignore most of my emails, so good luck, Google.

  • Just have, (Score:5, Funny)

    by Grand Facade ( 35180 ) on Tuesday November 03, 2015 @09:05PM (#50860365)

    Your machine email mine and they can do lunch....

  • Oh, dear, was that reply rude? It was just Google, I just clicked send without reading it... Actually, I love your wardrobe... No, I think you're a great boss... Did I really say that? I'll turn Google's suggestions off right away, and no, I have no idea how it knew you were mildly obese. I'm terribly sorry.

  • GMAIL / EMAIL (except in business environment) is more or less on the way of dodo. I am looking at my INBOX and most emails are from service providers like banks, utilities etc. not friends / family which has migrated to some sort of social media / messaging platform.

    Facebook made the right call in buying Whatsapp. For all its smarts, self driving cars, robots, AI and what not Zuckerberg has an edge over Brin and his cohorts when it comes to interpersonal communication between human beings.
    • by gsslay ( 807818 )

      And no-one would dream of implementing the same technology on social media / messaging platforms!

  • Google: Would you like us to read your email and generate automatic responses?

    Me: Go fuck yourself.

    Google: I knew you were going to say that.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.