Google’s Smart Reply


If you get tired of typing out responses to the many emails you receive each day from professors, bosses, and others, fear not: Google has developed a new automatic reply service that will make responding to emails a cinch.

According to Wired, Google has released a new form of artificial intelligence (AI) that can be used specifically for Gmail, called Smart Reply.

With this new service, the AI will allow the user to choose from various pre-generated responses to an email, creating a speedy way to let the user to respond promptly and on-the-go, using the Gmail app on their smartphone or tablet.

The AI works by interpreting the content of the user’s email and formulating three unique and potentially suitable responses. If you don’t want to use one of the suggested responses, however, you have the option to edit them so that you at least don’t have to type up a completely new response.      

Google’s Smart Reply feature is designed to be able to work much like a human brain by analyzing the nature and tone of people’s conversations through Gmail.

According to The New Yorker, Smart Reply wasn’t overly useful in its initial testing phases. For example, Smart Reply’s AI would recommend replies to emails that sounded too blunt or even too emotional, even suggesting responses such as “I love you” when such as response would not be appropriate in the email conversation.

Over time the developers of Smart Reply at Googlr have learned to dial back any overly strong or emotional language that the AI may suggest, instead encouraging the service to suggest more neutral and professional responses for the user to be able to choose from.

The AI is now programmed to suggest three distinct responses for the user to choose from with every email they are replying to.

This may be a helpful tool for busy students, especially considering that all students’ USD email accounts are setup through Gmail.

Sophomore Rachel Maltz appreciates how this new feature will be able to help her send emails in a short amount of time.

“I think that it will be more time efficient to respond to classmates and professors because as college students we have such busy lives,” Maltz said. “Google now allows us to cut that time by predetermining what we need to say so that we can more efficiently multitask.”

Senior David Farrell understands how Smart Reply can be helpful to students with providing suggestions for how to respond to emails.

“I think there is a fear of what to say to teachers or other students for a lot of people in our generation,” Farrell said. “We are so used to speaking in terms of text that, when we need to respond to an email, we struggle to come up with the right words.”

Farrell also sees the usefulness that Gmail’s new feature will have in allowing users to remain organized.

“I also think that it may help some people skim through emails a little more easily,” Farrell said. “I think that people will begin to just trust Google to make the right response for them.”

Smart Reply is best used for sending quick, straight-forward responses.

This feature is particularly helpful when you’re travelling or on-the-go, and don’t have the time to type out a full response. For now, Smart Reply gives you the option to reply to an email with a single tap of your smartphone screen.


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