Ep 80: Smart Replies Aren’t So Smart – with guest Jess Hohenstein

You’ve probably seen them. You’ve probably used them. Popular in Gmail and other messages platform like Slack or LinkedIn, they provide you with handy, if bland, suggested replies. Just a quick click sends a response, and you are on your way to sailing through your email inbox. But are smart replies really all that they are cracked up to be?

These “smart replies” are generated by an AI that parses through millions (billions?) of emails, calculating appropriate responses it can offer to you. Clicking on one of these pre-written responses might save you a second or two, but using them might give the impression that you don’t care that much. They might even homogenize us as a society, and can even be affecting how we think and how we interact with each other.

Today we’re talking to Jess Hohenstein. Jess is a PhD candidate working in the Robots in Groups Lab in Cornell University. She focuses on how AI mediates our communication and its affect on us humans.

Patrons of the podcast will be given the chance to play around with software that Jess and her group developed that utilizes smart replies. More information can be found on the Patreon page.

Some of the background music you heard are clips from:

Link: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/BOCrew/31685
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Truth? by onlymeith
Link: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/onlymeith/38010
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kalte Ohren (septahelix remix) by septahelix
Link: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/septahelix/59527
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Plucked Contemporary Boom by Kara Square
Link: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/mindmapthat/43975
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Blue Like Venus by spinningmerkaba
Link: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/jlbrock44/35724
License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

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