The helpful folks at Google are at it again, determined to automate every daily task so that mankind will one day wake up and immediately go back to bed upon realizing there is nothing for it to do.
Having nearly mastered the driverless car -- statistics show Google road rage incidents are down markedly -- Google engineers recently turned their Gthoughts to email, specifically answering emails for us so we can devote our time to more important tasks, namely wondering what Google replied. And to whom?
"UPS, please leave the package in the garage. Greg's security code is 6495. If that doesn't work, there's a key hidden in the third bush behind the patio furniture."
The Google Smart Reply feature, currently in "roll out phase" (Translation? Like it or not, you have it), uses "artificial intelligence" (Translation? A common trait among all presidential candidates) to guess which emails can be answered in brief sentences, and then offers multiple suggestions sent via simple phone taps. Answers to, "Do you have any documentation for the new software?" included, "I'll send it to you," "I'll have to look for it" and "I was fired months ago. Why are you asking me?"
Despite Google's most blatant Big-Brother-Is-Not-Only-Watching-But-Speaking-For-You-Too creation, Gmail users appear positively giddy that Google can now respond for us when we are checking our email in restroom stalls, as evidenced by the comments from the Google Research blog:
"This is super awesome."
"Pretty neat stuff."
I'll admit: I will most likely be drinking the Smart Reply Kool-Aid, for I receive an average of 143 emails per day ... most from generous, unknown individuals who find me trustworthy enough to march into a bank and withdraw their 33 million dollar family fortune provided I share my bank account and social security number. The rest are from Groupon.
On a good day I receive two, sometimes three relevant emails that I do not want Google answering for me. Instead, I prefer to use my Northwestern University journalism degree and my years of experience in the newspaper trenches to compose fluid, well punctuated and carefully thought out responses:
"Yeah, sounds good to me dude."
Smart Reply can handle the rest. But, as is Google's policy, they neglected to ask me for suggestions before unleashing their latest productivity tool. I'm still waiting for Google to act on my recommendation that every Google Maps route also includes Hooters locations.
Until then, let me propose a few responses for those emails that, as Google claims, can be answered via its "deep neural network" (Translation? Deep neural network).
Subject: Please open this immediately!
Responses: This looks like a virus
My anti-virus software says this is a virus
Just opened it. Thanks for the virus.
Subject: Attract more website visitors!
Responses: I don't have a website.
I have a website but I'm anti-social.
The last visitor gave me a virus.
Subject: Latest Fantasy Football news
Responses: I don't play Fantasy Football.
Will respond when my boss isn't looking.
Stuck with Cutler. Please unsubscribe.
Subject: Your domain name is set to expire
Responses: Please renew so I can attract more visitors.
Please give it to someone who shares my first and last name.
Is Jebin2016.com available again?
Subject: @realDonaldTrump is now following you on Twitter!
Stand by while I compose a clever Fox News rant that he can retweet.
Subject: Robbed in Argentina. Need Money!
Responses: I will wire you some cash.
So, you can't drive the carpool this weekend?
I hear Buenos Aires is beautiful in November.
Subject: Meet Thousands of Singles Discretely
Responses: Ashley Madison said the same thing.
Already using Google Dating