Under the Button is part of a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Downward Spiral: Student Loses Ability to Make Decisions After Getting Hooked on Gmail's Suggested Replies


Photo by Christina Morillo / CC0

Thursday works. See you then!

This was the first email Karen Tepler (E '20) sent using the suggested reply feature on Gmail's new interface.  At the time, she didn't think much of it.

"I was like, oh, that's neat," she recounted. "Gmail thought of my answer for me." 

But now, two weeks after that initial click, Tepler has found herself unable to reply to emails in her own words. Even worse, she fears she has lost the ability to make decisions entirely.

"At first it was just the emails," she explained, her eyes noticeably sunken with anxiety. "I started replying to everything with a pre-generated response because they were so accurate every time. And then, I realized that I wouldn't be able to think of a coherent message on my own, even in a real-life conversation."

According to Tepler, she hasn't talked to another human in at least six days for fear that they will ask her to "get lunch sometime." 

"And I'm just not capable of responding to that," she sighed.

At press time, Tepler was drafting up a poll on her Instagram story to determine whether to seek medical treatment for her UTI.