“Gosh, I really wish Google would read my emails and reply for me,” said no discerning data protection preacher, ever.
Does Google care? Of course not. Instead, it’s put machine learning tech into its Inbox app, meaning auto ‘bot replies to insistent work colleagues.
The humanoid system will scan emails and offer three reply options, shaving seconds off your typed-out turnaround time.
Don’t expect essays, though. The aptly-named Smart Reply feature is intended for messages that can be dealt with by brief responses – think “I’m working on it”, rather than “So, about last night…”
What’s more, it’s only available for the Android and iOS Apps, with no word on whether it’ll hit browsers. Still, it’s arguably most useful on mobile platforms, where two thumbs and a touchscreen are all you have at your disposal.
Google’s concept is to deliver two-tap replies: one to open, one to select a response. Thankfully, the system has developed a lot from its early stages: the software engineer behind the idea, Bálint Miklós, said it used to throw “I love you” around just a little too often.
Whilst spreading the love doesn’t sound too bad an idea, to make it a useful piece of functionality Smart Reply will need to be almost perfect at imitating humans – something which could put the jitters up AI-fearers.
In any case, this is just the latest in a line of developments to come out of the California tech giant, employing the same neural network tech that revolutionised media management in its smart-sorting Photos app.
With Google already scanning your inbox for flight bookings and hotel reservations, Smart Reply is one step closer to fully-automated email. PAs better watch out.