Gmail Now Finishes Your Sentences

 In Food for Thought

There are days which I am inundated with emails. I trawl my inbox for the information, questions and essay-like briefings to dissect. Responding to all these emails takes time and endless niceties which after a while, become a little robotic. This is where Gmail’s Smart Compose shines. The new feature is available to many users of the email client, automatically offering text suggestions to finish off our sentences. Gmail churns through our old emails (and the email’s of others) to select the best words which are likely to be at the end of the phrase you are in the midst of writing. These words appear in phantom-like fashion in a light grey font colour. To make them appear in full form, just press the ‘tab’ button. Simple? Yes. But what does this mean for the future of email?

Electronic mail is a mainstay on business. The digital form of communication has been around for decades. Despite new asynchronous forms of communication becoming more and more popular, email is still supreme. It’s a useful tool, but it can also be the bane of many corporate types. According to The University of Glasgow, some 80% of work email is unneeded. Those who strive to reach the ideal of ‘Inbox Zero’ know that responding to a seemingly endless queue of emails is daunting. Especially if most can be answered with simple a ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘maybe’. Gmail’s Smart Reply rolled out to provide its users with a smart generated email to fight off the banal inquiries with fittingly banal responses.

Well, Smart Compose is the next logical step. While Reply is more obviously an algorithmic attempt at human interaction, Compose knows your own tone of voice to suggest phrases and words which sound like you. In the sake of efficiency, this is a major time-saver. However, some are wary of Google responding on their behalf. To the nth degree, Compose and may have everyone giving their author privileges to a chatbot ghostwriting for them. Emails written, but not by a human. Some are concerned at the inauthentic nature of this way of writing. The search engine already does so much for us on a day-to-day basis, but can we not even finish off our own sentences?

If you feel this way, Gmail allows you to switch off the feature and go about writing your own words. All of your communications will be in your complete control.

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