so, it turns out that our users are using our product for...
[spins Wheel of User Behavior]
There are many times I've used one of these buttons to begin a much more detailed email. Not only do they save a few keystrokes, but they help you get past that first wave of "blank canvas" writer's block.
It's amazing that they managed to fail at discoverability despite putting the controls right in front of me.
Please, developers of the world, make return insert a new line. It's much easier to undo than message-send.
Do you have any examples of messaging apps where return/enter inserts a newline? I can't think of a single one where it doesn't send the message, probably because inserting a newline is an uncommon case but sending is not. It's been that way since the days of IRC, from what I remember.
This division was fine, because they served different purposes. Messaging (return => send) was always short term, quick communications; Forums (return => newline) was always longer-form posts, sentences to paragraphs, in a single post. The forum for discussion worth archiving, and the messaging app to replicate daily communications.
But slack and its kin crossed that line. They pitch themselves as the utility of forums (archiving, search, "starring", etc), with the quickness of messaging (rapid response times, notifications, etc), and now everything is fucked. Forum-like conversation get stuffed into a Messaging application, and gets broken up into a hundred different messages (ala 1/20, 2/20..20/20 twitter multi-posts), perhaps collapsed into a single proper post but usually not; Logs get stuffed into it, into a separate channel whose sole purpose is to be muted. Documents and emails and any work gets stuffed into it, because it can be made to fit.
And naturally, the archiving, the search, the document storage, everything breaks down, and its awful. Until you realize that you can't use slack like slack wants you to. It's a better, smoother, more maintainable and convenient BBS forum, trapped in a messaging shell.
The return => send is feared, and it is a fear special to slack, and its many recent derivatives. Because slack crossed the line, without crossing it. Messaging apps should have return => send; slack (and its kin) should have return => newline, because it is not a messaging app. It is not IRC, and it is not counted amongst IRC's friends.
It is a forum in denial.
I've seen only single app that misbehaved and was sending the messages on return key - Xabber. Others just let me insert newlines as I'd expect.
I wouldn't mind so much if Slack and other offenders had a delayed send option so I could undo my f*ups.
It's like how Nature seems constantly put out that it stuck being the premier journal for high end research and wants to make it's presentation and editorial content look as much like Scientific American as possible.
I think it captures the effects of autoreply more accurately, at least the effects of a writer living outside of Silicon Valley.
While Google's suggestions may often be off-base, they are also often reasonable, but they may shift your register a little. That is, they are designed for people using email to make quick decisions and respond in a professional way.
That was the topic of about half the article.
The person may have typed it but it comes across that way.
Happy to use an email provider that doesn't have a bot reading my mail.
I.e., these responses are there to serve as various textual forms of "I acknowledge that I received your message and am hereby discharging your social expectation that I will reply to it, by doing so with an information-free message."
I assume that Gmail would just suggest using an emoji rather than text, except for the fact that 1. etiquette says that an emoji is too "casual" for office work, but a one-word answer is just fine and exemplary in its professionalism; and 2. there are devices still in use that can receive email but are old enough that they can't display emoji, so textual equivalents are a better lowest-common-denominator.
Wouldn't a common phrase or expression be easier to understand for the recipient?
I know someone whose blog is configured to filter out such vacuous "empty praise" comments, because 99% of the time they are from spambots.
“The reply you have entered is not actionable. Do you still want to send it?”
Nip vacuous e-mail in the bud.
Using these same machine learning methods, a trio of possible responses to a given type of email message is generated and tested. Every time a human uses one of these three responses, a datapoint is supplied to Google that says “given message type A, a human has chosen response X as an appropriate one.”
Multiply this last step by a thousand or a million or a gazillion, to the point where a clear statistical pattern emerges, and Google can conclude with some confidence that when a person expresses ideas, thoughts, feelings, or questions that can be classified as type A, it’s reasonable for another human to respond with utterance X.
This is usual attribution of magical powers to "AI" (and really they mean "ML") by the people who don't know how it actually works.
In this case:
* Sensitivity detector checks if email is sensitive, smart reply is turned off for sensitive emails (obviously didn't trigger in this case). I personally think this is questionable feature - imagine your keyboard turns off if it thinks topic is sensitive.
* Encoder model produces embedding which is compared with pre-computed and pre-clustered embeddings for whitelisted replies. Top replies for three top clusters are selected (selecting replies without clustering will produce very similar replies). All potential replies are white-listed for obvious reasons.
While clicks produce useful metrics (really, this is the target metric), they don't produce useful training data for two reasons: (roughly speaking) you can't train a model on it's own output and there is no way for model to learn to suggest something new. Fundamental challenge for training such models is that production metric is different from training metric: model is trained to select likely reply that was typed, production metric is reply that is clicked.
There is bunch of blog posts and papers from Google Research describing how it works.
For specific hypothetical example, it's not hard to imagine, that training users to prefer things like "experiences" or entertainment that need to be re-purchased is better that promoting physical goods, like board games or bicycles.
Yes, its to their benefit if their users have money. No, I don't think there's any chance that any company is able to optimize for someone gaining a middle-class life that meaningfully.
Companies do small-scale user studies and measure things like engagement and increased clicks on a small scale. They do not perfectly capture their user's income and spending level for many years and correlate that well enough with the company's auto-suggestions that said suggestions optimize for that very macro goal over the very micro measurements they make.
I think it's very hard to imagine Google successfully optimizing itself to meaningfully lead do that outcome for users, just as it's very hard to imagine humans evolving the ability to fly.
You can see it an example of early precursor of ML that shapes user behavior: learning what motivates user to return and then displaying it.
I think this is a big claim and not obviously true enough to just assume. Email is just a medium, and can be any kind of communication within that - just like not all spoken communication is a conversation.
Some great blogs not hosted by Medium:
I don't recall any situation, not even once, where they would be relevant to what I received. The most insane thing is that I receive auto-reply suggestions in English, even when the email was not written in English.
If this is the best that Google's "world-leading AI" can come up with, then I'm not worried about AI taking over the world. Not even slightly.
The newest "press tab to auto-complete word/sentence" while I'm typing though, that's incredible and I've used it in every email since I got the feature. A real time saver - and sometimes makes me sound more eloquent too!
BTW switching to personal mail not only improve my workflow but also push me to expand my knowledge like never before. Now my personal, notmuch based+scripts automation automate far, far, far more than Google and far better. If I'd like to have template replay I can add them in a snap.
I wonder: for all the people in the world using Gmail, how many use their web interface? I'm a "Gmail user" but I only access it via native mail clients. I haven't actually tried logging in to Gmail using a web browser in forever, so I never see their latest feature that everyone loves/hates.
The four maxims in the article are really spot on.
I cannot begin to fathom what deranged design flow led to Google creating a UI element that is objectively worse than Clippy.
Or skype, I had to disable it, because it looked like complete gibberish (some English suggestions for non english messages).
A constant reminder that AI is thousands of years from taking over humanity.
Edit: I just noticed parts of the concealed text have been "smudged" before blurred. So no risk here. Still valid as a PSA :)
There's a discussion on deblurring techniques before: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4679801
Please don't post shallow dismissals, especially of other people's work. A good critical comment teaches us something.
Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize.
I have a co-worker who does this. She sends me data files with "Please review."
So I've started responding with things like, "It had a good beat, but I couldn't dance to it. Three stars." Or, "Excellent datas!!eleven! Fast shipping! Goog eBayer, would buy again!"
She's still sending me the one-liners, but at least I'm having fun.
You say that, but...
14:51 I wanted to merge dev into master
14:52 and got message that dev is not up to date or something with the base branch
14:53 so I clicked on update branch, but than I saw in circleci that it attempts to merge master int develop!?
14:53 so I stopped it
So my issue with IM is you get pinged every 30 seconds while you watch people write their emails in real time.
Some people are just bad at replying things, and even an one liner would save me from wondering and/or needs for follow up of "did you receive my message?"
I often reply to non actionable emails/IMs with a thumbs up emoji indicating that I have read the message and have nothing to add. This means the other side know they don't have to try to contact me again because I have seen it.