Home Daily Blitz What if Elon Musk’s Rage Emails Are Actually Just Gmail Smart Replies?

What if Elon Musk’s Rage Emails Are Actually Just Gmail Smart Replies?


The following is an excerpt from HEATHER SCHWEDEL | September 5, 2018 | Slate.com |

Gmail’s redesign, which debuted in the spring and has been gradually rolling out to inboxes across the internet all summer, gives increased real estate to so-called smart replies, which suggest short, one-click responses to emails. They’re usually fairly innocuous phrases like, “Sounds good!” or “Can’t wait!” The smart replies are generated by a machine learning algorithm scanning your inbox, but until now, it’s been unclear how much the suggested responses are capable of mimicking a particular person’s email style. Do they just flatten everyone into a blandly peppy corporate automaton or are they capable of reflecting one’s personality? What about someone like, say, Elon Musk, whose outré email style has been getting a lot of attention over the past few days? In reports from Business Insider and BuzzFeed, Musk reveals himself to be possibly even more of a madman in his inbox than he is on Twitter.

In a miraculous coincidence, Slate has obtained access to Elon Musk’s Gmail after the mogul inadvertently left a Century City, Los Angeles, Apple Store recently without logging out.* Imagine that, a man who trained his (erstwhile?) pop-star girlfriend to communicate in Signal isn’t such an infosec master after all! While we can’t share most of what we learned—legal reasons, blah blah blah—from the looks of his inbox, Google’s A.I. has gotten scarily good at imitating the CEO’s eccentrically curt missives. At this point, Gmail’s “smart reply” bot is fully trained to replicate his fragile and impatient ego—so much so that it’s unclear who’s responsible for some of his recent howlers, real Elon or smart-reply Elon. Here’s a sampling of what Musk’s smart replies look like:

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