Why is Gmail not smart enough to offer a Contacts modification when a message includes the phrase “my phone number is”?

I was recently arranging a meeting with an email friend (not as virtuous as a Facebook friend). She wrote “my phone is 347…” It seemed like an obvious situation for Gmail to include a link offering “add this to the contact information for her”. Yet this did not happen. Nor does Gmail offer any similar shortcuts in any of the emails where the sender wrote “my phone number is …”

Why do we believe in the Dawn of AI when an application such as Gmail, backed by literally infinite money and programming talent, can’t do what the lowest quality human assistant would be able to do?

7 thoughts on “Why is Gmail not smart enough to offer a Contacts modification when a message includes the phrase “my phone number is”?

  1. The programming talent is engaged in a fierce row between right thinkers and wrong thinkers. Maybe when the the wrong thinkers finish their crimestop, they’ll get around to the dawn of AI.

    Or maybe the thought criminals can be sent to work on Lisp projects all day in Room 101? Both you and the right thinkers can get what you want.

  2. In the vein of “make simple things simple”, given spam is 98% of all email and thus getting rid of spam is probably the #2 or #3 most frequently used operation in GMail, why do I have to do this multi-step process to delete spam?

    1) click on the spam

    2) click on the down arrow next to the “replay” button

    3) scroll down on the popup menu and select “Block ”

    4) confirm you do in fact want to block evil spammer in the popup dialog

    5) click on the “report spam” stop button

    6) half of the time, choose between “report spam” or “report spam and unsubscribe”, as if anyone still believes spammers honor unsubscribe requests, as opposed to using them as proof-of-life to add to their lists and sell to other spammers, thus increasing the amount of spam you get

    Compare this rigmarole with every reasonable mail client, which has a one-step “thumbs-down” button.

    Perhaps it’s because Google believes, against all evidence, that its algorithm is effective at catching spam. In my experience it has a 20% false positive rate and sufficiently high false negative that efficient manual controls are needed.

  3. You may be operating under the assumption that Gmail is there to serve you and not vice versa.

  4. If Google has half the information it is credited with, it should be able to send the police to any spammer’s operation after a couple of emissions of spam. Of course that would make anygoogle, er, anybody vulnerable to prosecution for abusing “cyber”.

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