Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Autopilot email?

Google has announced that it now has AutoPilot responses for email and chat.

Because people might want to send computer-generated responses to people instead of answering their email in person.


According to the description, the email AutoPilot will determine your writing style and use it to respond to incoming email. In fact, AutoPilot email can respond to someone else's AutoPilot email (up to 3 rounds of messages). Thus, computers can have conversations with each other, without any human intervention. Yup, theoretically, your computer can accept a dinner engagement on your behalf...and unless you actually READ your own email, you'll never know.

There's something about this that disturbs me in a very big way. It seems so, well, deceptive. If the person on the other end thinks you're actually communicating with them but it's really your email program that's making up something, then you might as well just tell them lies. Personally, I'd rather get an "I'm away on vacation" message than something that's made up by a machine. Well, unless we're talking about sentient robots, but I don't think we're there yet.

Maybe people should communicate with fewer people (less quanitity and more quality?) rather than being so horribly busy that they have to put their email (and CHAT!) on AutoPilot.

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