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Google Will Start Using A.I. To Automatically Generate Email Responses

Google is rolling out its latest tech magic trick this week: an A.I. system that will read and respond to emails for you when you’re on the go. Called Smart Reply, the technology was designed to create alternatives for those hasty typo-ridden emails we all craft in a rush. The system generates three possible responses for each email, ranging from three to six words; simply pick the response that best fits your intended message and tone, and hit send.

Smart Reply, which will be rolled out on the Google Inbox app for Android and iOs, uses a form of artificial intelligence called “deep learning,” which learns more and more about language and grammar as it reads more emails. That means, even if its responses are currently pretty simple, it’s only going to get more sophisticated over time.

In order to develop the email response system, Google had Smart Reply analyze actual email conversations across Gmail. It learned common email replies like “Thanks,” “Sounds good,” and “How about tomorrow?” and learned how to identify their appropriate contexts.

According to Popular Science, Smart Reply uses two neural networks to craft its replies. The first reads and analyzes your email, while the second generates a response.

But while neural networks are inspired by the web of neurons that make up the human brain, that doesn’t mean the Smart Reply system understands your emails the way a human would. For example, the system generates its email responses by choosing each word based on the logical and grammatical information that preceded it: “It’s a lot like the game where a group of people have to tell a story one word at a time,” explains Popular Science. “Except it’s only one person, and that person is a machine.”

[h/t: Popular Science]

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History
When Chuck Yeager Tweeted Details About His Historic, Sound Barrier-Breaking Flight

Seventy years ago today—on October 14, 1947—Charles Elwood Yeager became the first person to travel faster than the speed of sound. The Air Force pilot broke the sound barrier in an experimental X-1 rocket plane (nicknamed “Glamorous Glennis”) over a California dry lake at an altitude of 25,000 feet.

In 2015, the nonagenarian posted a few details on Twitter surrounding the anniversary of the achievement, giving amazing insight into the history-making flight.

For even more on the historic ride, check out the video below.

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Mrs. John Herschel, Wikimedia Commons
8 Stellar Facts About the Most Accomplished Female Astronomer You’ve Never Heard Of
Mrs. John Herschel, Wikimedia Commons
Mrs. John Herschel, Wikimedia Commons

Caroline Herschel (1750-1848) was a German woman who made great contributions to science and astronomy. 

1. SHE WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO DISCOVER A COMET.

Herschel spotted the comet (called 35P/Herschel-Rigollet) in December of 1788. Because its orbital period is 155 years, 35P/Herschel-Rigollet will next be visible to humans in the year 2092.

2. SHE INITIALLY WORKED AS A HOUSEKEEPER.

In her early twenties, Herschel moved from Germany to England to be a singer. Her brother William (the astronomer who discovered the planet Uranus and infrared radiation) gave her singing lessons, and she was his housekeeper. She later became his assistant, grinding and polishing the mirrors for his telescopes.

3. BUT SHE LATER TURNED HER REAL PASSION INTO A PAYING GIG.

Herschel was the first female scientist to ever be paid for her work. Starting in 1787, King George III paid her £50 per year to reward her for her scientific discoveries.

4. SHE WAS TECHNICALLY A LITTLE PERSON.

Herschel was only 4 feet 3 inches tall—her growth was stunted due to typhus when she was 10 years old.

5. SHE BROKE BARRIERS, EARNING RESPECT FROM THE HERETOFORE MALE-ONLY SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY.

Herschel was the first woman to receive a Gold Medal from London’s Royal Astronomical Society, in 1828. The second woman to receive one was well over 150 years later, in 1996.

6. SHE CHEATED AT MATH ... KIND OF.

Because Herschel was female and thus wasn’t allowed to learn math as a child, she used a cheat sheet with the multiplication tables on it when she was working.

7. EARTH'S MOON HONORS HER LEGACY.

By NASA / LRO_LROC_TEAM [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A crater on the moon is named in honor of Herschel—it’s called C. Herschel. The small crater is located on the west side of Mare Imbrium, one of the moon's large rocky plains.

8. SHE GARNERED AWARDS WELL INTO HER NINETIES.

For her 96th birthday, Prussian King Frederick William IV authorized that Herschel receive an award: the Gold Medal for Science.

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