From The Side of the Road… email shorthand for grassers

We’ve all been seeing the ways in which AI technology is already being used to improve our lives, that is before it destroys civilization as we know it about two years from now. As an example of its practical application, I’ve already used it in a December column to write Christmas songs about moonshine, Grandpa, and coal, sometimes all three in the same song.

It’s hard to get more practical than that, I realize, but I recently noticed that when replying to an email, the mail program I sometimes use has started offering suggestions for replies, like “Got it, thanks,” “Sure, no problem,” “No, I can’t,” or my personal favorite, “Thoughts?”

It seems this is becoming more common, and there are also paid extensions now that go further. Google, for example, is offering something called “superReply,” capable of going into more detail than just the short-phrase replies. They describe it this way:

“superReply is a helpful tool that makes it easier to reply to emails. Instead of having to type out your own replies, superReply can suggest some ready-made responses that you can use. These responses are created using smart technology, so they are tailored to the specific email you are replying to. This means that you can quickly and easily send a thoughtful and personalized reply without having to spend a lot of time writing.”

What? Even more thoughtful and personalized than “Thoughts?” or “K”?

Apparently, it uses the content of your email to suggest relevant replies from you. This means, of course, that it has to read your email, which fits nicely with Google’s image as a company that views privacy as an antiquated concept, like paying for music.

The goal here of course is to save you time and effort, while trying to conceal the fact that you couldn’t be bothered to spend that time and effort to actually reply to someone.

A typical superReply email response looks something like this:

“Hi Darlene, 

We appreciate your interest in the project and look forward to hearing more from your team.”

It seems like “Darlene” is the most personal thing about this reply, but this is still new technology.

Could we come up with bluegrass-relevant replies for emails between musicians, or emails from a musician to a promoter or agent? Somehow I feel that canned responses are just not going to cut it when replying to emails like, “I’ve got you scheduled just after Billy Strings. You’ll be closing the show.” Now that I think about it, a simple “No I can’t” would work as well as anything, but you can see that a set of intuitive bluegrass response options would be very useful.

The following is a list of phrases that can be used by a bluegrass musician to reply to a range of music-related emails:

“Great. See you at the Kroger parking lot at midnight.”

“I thought that was next week.”

“I’m sorry, but that’s before 11:00 a.m.”

“I think Bb would sound better.”

“I think it’s crying out for twin banjos.”

“So that’s it? My years of service to this music mean nothing to you?”

“I don’t know, Florida to Nova Scotia is a pretty long drive, and we’ll have to cross a border.”

“Well that would have been good pay in 1978.”

“It’s hard for me to predict who will be in the band a year and a half from now. Why?”

“We can just rehearse on the fly.”

“Add two zeros to the end of that and we’ll talk.”

“Thanks for sending the demo of your bluegrass song about bluegrass. I’ll get back to you soon.”

“Thanks for sending the demo of your Christmas song about moonshine, Grandpa, and coal. I’ll get back to you soon.”

“Just to let you know, Curley Lambert and Pee Wee Lambert are not the same person.”

“I don’t care what your SiriusXM display says, Bill Clinton did not record Little Whitewashed Chimney.”

“Or you could try actually listening to the material before stepping on stage.”

“On the other hand, we’re the only bluegrass band with a soup endorsement deal.”

“As a matter of fact we do need a mandolin player. Can you repair diesel engines?”