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Artificial Intelligence: Are there any skeptics?

Artificial Intelligence or AI is having a moment. Much like blockchain and metrics and…

But the moment has been around for a decade and continues to heat up in the trade and popular press. I remained skeptical for some time, wondering how it would impact people on a day-to-day basis regarding publishing.

I’ve read the article by the evangelists and seen the predictions. I made some myself. But it takes real examples to drive concepts home like AI.

I saw in my Gmail account (and other place) their newish feature called “Smart Reply.” Others offer the same feature. I scoffed at first over the offer to say, “Thanks,” “Sounds good,” “Makes sense.” Could people actually get even more lazy with their replies? I guess so.

I then started to notice some replies that were not knee-jerk one-worders. I saw ones that were dead on and ones that were actually cogent. I never saw ones that made no sense.

To be clear, I am not using the feature. I can make my own terse one-word comments by myself!

But it is an illustration (albeit a small one), of AI being able to read and understand text and suggest very accurate replies. While AI has been around awhile, we can all agree it is still in its infancy regarding application, particularly in publishing (search aside). I am looking forward to the future and more apparent ways it will be used.

As an aside, if there was ever a doubt about your email being read or ingested by large email services like Gmail, (let alone it helping to “teach” their AI), this feature should put that to rest. I am not so sure if you pay for your email service, that this would not be the case as well.

All I have to say to AI about the future in scholarly publishing: “Thanks,” “Sounds good,” and “Makes sense.”


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