Breakups are tough, and that rings true regardless if you’re the one doing the breaking up or not. But like everything else in your life, technology wants to make things easier on your broken heart. Google’s Smart Reply, available on Android’s Inbox app, was created to answer emails faster while on the move. Despite its intended use, it seems the intelligent reply bot has also become useful in users’ personal lives.
Ben Crair, a journalist, discovered how Google’s Smart Reply, also known as Al, knew exactly what needed to be said when he was breaking up with his girlfriend through email. While Crair attempted to write an email to his ex-girlfriend on why they were breaking up, Al was generating responses that summarized all of his feelings.
Google’s Smart Reply system uses a pair machine learning neural network that analyzes the content of incoming emails and in turn, generates various responses.
Like any other person breaking up with their partner, creating coherent and honest thoughts can be difficult. Although Crair thought he was doing a great job writing his email, it wasn’t entirely what he wanted to say.
“When I scrolled again to the bottom of her email, though, Gmail suggested a computer-generated response that was shorter, clearer, and, I realized, all I really wanted to tell her: ‘I miss you so much,'” he wrote in New York Magazine about the feature.
Google’s Smart Reply email app, only released last year, surprised Crair with its computer generated response, which was incredibly accurate. “It was as though the computer could feel my frustration. Google got me,” he continued. Despite how impressed Crair was, he does admit it’s a bit frightening.
“You didn’t need to be a professional writer to find this unsettling,” said Crair. “We already live in a world where machines can figure out what movie we want to watch or food we want to eat. What happens when they start to speak for us?”
A similar instance happened while emailing his father. Smart Reply had identified Crair’s father telling his parental wisdom and suggested the response, “Thanks for the advice.” It was such an appropriate answer that Crair thought about actually using it.
Next time you find yourself heading towards a breakup and don’t know what to say, perhaps give Google’s Smart Reply a chance. It’s definitely better than the famous line, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
[H/T: Daily Mail]