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Gmail Is Autocompleting Entire Sentences And People Have Feelings

Gmail’s Smart Compose: “Equally prescient and creepy.”

Posted on October 3, 2018, at 10:29 a.m. ET

Gmail has been rolling out a new feature called “Smart Compose” that “suggests complete sentences in your emails” to save your precious fingers from actually having to type the whole thing out.

When we start completing your sentences with suggested phrases, you know it's meant to be. ❤️ ️See how Smart Compose and other features can help you get more done 📩 → https://t.co/RXxXiGJi5t https://t.co/9A1bt6drJW

Smart Compose builds on Google’s “Smart Reply” feature that offers an automatic selection of simple replies you can send, based on the email you received and how you normally write (for example, “Thanks!” versus “Thanks.”).

Now, with Smart Compose, Gmail is offering tailored suggestions for completing your sentences as you type, and it’s delivering them to you at lightning speed. According to Google’s AI Blog, since it “provides predictions on a per-keystroke basis, it must respond ideally within 100ms for the user not to notice any delays.”

The idea is the responses will improve over time as the AI learns more about how you communicate. “At launch, it can fill in common phrases and relevant addresses, like that of your home and office; in the future, it will get smarter — learning your most-used greetings,” according to a recent G Suite update.

Google already conducts “automatic processing of emails” to weed out spam and phishing scams. The company said in a blog post this also “allows us to give you intelligent features like Smart Reply that help you be more productive.” (In 2017, Google stopped showing Gmail users ads based on the content of their emails.)

When Gmail users started noticing Smart Compose popping up in their emails, many of them had strong feelings. Their reactions on social media have run the gamut, from experiencing shock and amazement over how accurate Gmail’s predictions are to feeling creeped out by the AI and what it could mean for our privacy. Here’s a selection of reactions.

Smart Compose is “on point.”

It’s “freakishly good.”

Holy heck. Machine-learning-based auto-complete in Gmail is getting freakishly good. Anyone else seeing this?

Bafflingly, creepily good.

Gmail's smart compose feature is bafflingly, almost creepily, good.

Or maybe it’s just plain “creepy.”

Why is the new Gmail trying to complete my sentences for me? It's creepy.

“Super creepy.”

The new Gmail AI-based auto-complete feature is super creepy. But also arguably useful enough that I’m leaving it on for now. (Words after “Great “ appeared as soon as I hit the space bar.) [Before you ask: yes, I’m aware of whole debate about Google parsing Gmail text.] https://t.co/ngtmpQUYXD

“Hella creepy.”

The new auto-complete feature in Gmail is hella creepy, but I really like it.

Perhaps “equally prescient and creepy.”

Gmail Smart Compose: equally prescient and creepy, just like the rest of our self-driving dystopia.

Some might even say “spooky.”

The new @gmail auto-complete on message composing is spooky good. Machine learning is invading everything.

You know, Google must be getting all our data.

The amount of data @gmail smart compose is sending to the server is staggering. Not only does it send names, subject, body, it sends a log of when you last typed keys into the text box. https://t.co/84Lix33fwA

“No thank you Big Brother.”

My Gmail just turned on some kind of auto-complete feature out of nowhere and that was too much for me. No thank you Big Brother, crazy futurist robot trying to read my brain.

Can Google just not read my emails, please?

@gmail @Google Personally I don't want @gmail to be that smart. There are somethings people should do. Is there any possibility of @Google not reading the contents of my #EMAIL ?

And if it’s gonna pretend to be me, what’s with the “bland and worn phrases”?

Gmail's new auto-complete suggestions are helpful — they remind you of exactly the kind of bland and worn phrases that are best avoided entirely. https://t.co/7pROAzQ3Tw

Oh, the clichés!

The new gmail sentence auto-complete is both and fantastic, and a sobering wake-up to how many cliche email lines I use in a typical email...

As a productivity tool, “I like it in theory but find it distracting in practice.”

Anyone trying out the Gmail auto-suggest option? I like it in theory but find it distracting in practice and kinda derails my flow when I'm trying to get a thought out. It's like someone constantly trying to finish your sandwiches. https://t.co/OiCz2htQyM

It’s like “a tiny ghost racing to finish your email before you can.”

Gmail's new auto-complete feature is like a tiny ghost racing to finish your email before you can, and it's rather distracting/unhelpful. https://t.co/KM21bhkqfw

Completing someone else’s sentences is “the most annoying type of interruption.”

Worst gmail update ever. It is now trying to complete my sentences for me, which is about the most annoying type of interruption there is, my wife tells me regularly.

But as far as machine learning goes, “Great work,” Google!

Shout out to the data scientists who created @gmail's new sentence auto-complete features. It makes writing repeated parts of your emails super fast! Great work @googledevs! #DataScience #MachineLearning #AI https://t.co/k26z7ztEKC

I’m going to be so productive!

But seriously this Gmail auto-complete feature will save me 10 hours of typing over the next 12 months, and I think I'm being conservative. https://t.co/Wll4qd3LPw

Or am I? (So. Many. Choices.)

1) Apparently Gmail is doing the "predictive, auto-complete" thing, so that's interesting 2) But now I have to decide just how thankful I am. Am I "thank you" thankful, or "thank you *so much*" thankful? This 30-second email is taking me 10 minutes to finish. https://t.co/gBe7RfNcHS


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