Google has decided to introduce a new version of “Smart Reply”, a machine learning prowess, to respond to emails. The company’s Smart Reply feature debuted on its Inbox email app back in 2015. It’s also available on Android Wear & Allo). Now, it’s coming to Gmail on iOS & Android.
Smart Reply basically scans the text of an incoming message, & suggests 3 basic responses the user can send. The feature is rolling out in English first, according to an official blog post.
The new version of Smart Reply for Gmail increases the percentage of usable suggestions & is more algorithmically efficient.
Inspired by how humans understand languages and concepts, we turned to hierarchical models of language, an approach that uses hierarchies of modules, each of which can learn, remember, and recognize a sequential pattern.
The content of language is deeply hierarchical, reflected in the structure of language itself, going from letters to words to phrases to sentences to paragraphs to sections to chapters to books to authors to libraries, etc. Consider the message, “That interesting person at the cafe we like gave me a glance.” The hierarchical chunks in this sentence are highly variable. The subject of the sentence is “That interesting person at the cafe we like.” The modifier “interesting” tells us something about the writer’s past experiences with the person. We are told that the location of an incident involving both the writer and the person is “at the cafe.” We are also told that “we,” meaning the writer and the person being written to, like the cafe. Additionally, each word is itself part of a hierarchy, sometimes more than one. A cafe is a type of restaurant which is a type of store which is a type of establishment, and so on.
In proposing an appropriate response to this message we might consider the meaning of the word “glance,” which is potentially ambiguous. Was it a positive gesture? In that case, we might respond, “Cool!” Or was it a negative gesture? If so, does the subject say anything about how the writer felt about the negative exchange? A lot of information about the world, and an ability to make reasoned judgments, are needed to make subtle distinctions.