Don’t tell me how to feel, Gmail

When it was announced that Gmail was getting some sort of AI addition that would scan you email text, and provide some quick possible responses, I thought it was a bit weird, but never imagined I would use it, and promptly forgot about it.

When it arrived, it was pretty innocuous, and I generally ignore the bold blue words, write my own reply, and go on my merry way. Sure I have clicked on one here or there, but they never really seem that much of a time saver in my opinion.

But when I was writing a reply today, it started looking too much like the suggested result, and gave me pause.

I mean, sure, I am happy for it to suggest answers to a quick question asking for permission to do something. It makes sense that it can understand the context of the question, and know that a quick reply giving assent might be warranted. I am happy with an AI doing that.

What I dont like, is the added exclamation point.

I don’t know why. But I don’t like the AI suggesting excitement. I don’t like it telling me how to feel. I am a contrarian by nature, so perhaps this is just my usual reaction when I am told to act in a certain way, or think a certain thought.

Maybe it also bugs me, because it seems like it would be more fake to send something that presents some kind of emotional response, which wasn’t directly written by me. Passing on a simple ‘Sure’ doesnt have any extra connotations, ‘Sure!’ does.

But maybe, like so many things, I am overthinking it.

Random though over.

Book 12 for 2016: Superintelligence

Book 12 for 2016: Superintelligence
I have had this book waiting in my kindle all year, but it seems so daunting being written by a philosopher, and tackling some heady issues. Thus I had been picking some easier reads instead of delving in.
I have to say though, I do like the grand nature of the issue being tackled. Sure it may sound like science fiction, but if we are indeed working towards artificial intelligence, even a little, then this is clearly an issue, and a possible threat, that we need to be devoting our time to understanding.
So while the book itself may not solve any of the problems it elucidates, indeed many of these problems may never even come to be true, it is nevertheless a worthwhile undertaking simply to try and wrap our heads around the idea of Superintelligence, and how it will impact humanity.
It reminds me of one of my favourite Bertrand Russell quotes, where the philosopher explains why he thinks philosophy is a worthwhile pursuit. It’s worth reading, despite it being one of the largest sentences I can recall reading (it has two semicolons!):
“Philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any definite answers to its questions since no definite answers can, as a rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions themselves; because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imagination and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against speculation; but above all because, through the greatness of the universe which philosophy contemplates, the mind also is rendered great, and becomes capable of that union with the universe which constitutes its highest good.” – Bertrand Russell, Problems of Philosophy
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