“Deep Learning”: An Upcoming Gmail Feature That Will Answer Your Emails for You

Olia Kudanova

Nov 04, 20152 min read
An Upcoming Gmail Feature That Will Answer Your Emails for You

Yes. You read that right.

Google will soon leaf through your email and provide what it thinks is the best response.

The company is beefing up its app (Inbox by Gmail) using “ deep learning” - an algorithm-based technique or form of an artificial intelligence - that will offer you a few brief reply options.

The point is to reduce excessive manual tapping and save you time while you're on the go.

As Google product manager Alex Gawley told Wired.com: “The network will tailor both the tone and content of the responses to the email you’re reading.”

For instance, if you get an email that says, “Do you have any documentation on how to use the new software?”, these three options will be at the bottom of your screen:

  • "I don't, sorry."
  • "I will have to look for it."
  • "I'll send it to you."

Smart Reply

Like other sequence-to-sequence models, the Smart Reply System analyzes batches of emails across the Gmail system. It is built on the  recurrent neural network principle. The way it works is similar to how your smartphone recognizes your voice commands--by evaluating a database of articulated words, or in the same way that Luc Besson’s Leelo learned the meaning of a word “war”. So in this case, the system scans the actual correspondence.

There are, however, certain drawbacks, such as the relevancy of such responses or the issue of privacy. Google’s scientists used the LSTM network (long short-term memory) model, which is analogous to human memory. It studies the way messages begin or end and tries to speak “our language”. So the system may not always get it right. But no pain, no gain. This challenges researchers. Regarding privacy--it’s a high priority for Google, so no humans will ever view your conversations.

So let’s wait for the next update and see how far humanity has come since a chat bot.

Who needs emails?

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Author Photo
Olia KudanovaPR Manager, Semrush
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