The Smart Compose feature in Gmail is pretty handy. It offers suggestions as you’re typing the email so that you can save time and be more productive. However, it will no longer be able to refer to people as “her” or “him.” This is because Google has decided to remove gender pronouns from Smart Compose in order to reduce bias.
What? Isn’t the fact that they removed these pronouns bias in itself? Seems like it to me. Gmail product manager Paul Lambert said that gender pronouns were removed from Smart Compose once it appeared that the AI might be biased. An example of this was discovered in January when he typed “I am meeting an investor next week.” Smart Compose suggested “Do you want to meet him?” as a follow-up question, completely dismissing the possibility that the investor could be a woman too.
After seeing this bias, Google decided to not take any chances with gender pronouns, especially at a time when gender issues are a hot topic. AI critics have also been looking at potential biases very closely so Google wants to avoid that. So now you can’t even use a part of human language because Paul Lambert is a weird guy I guess.
Lambert does mention that they tried a fix for the bias, but none seemed to be completely bias-free, so the team decided to completely remove gender pronouns for now.