I want you to stop what you’re doing and come on a mental trip with me. Close your eyes and open your mind, imagining the most awful, rancid and ungodly place in human existence. Everywhere you look, there’s decay and disgust with very little chances of seeing hope or goodness in the darkness. Did you also spend those agonising moments envisioning the YouTube comments section? Yeah, you and every other person who’s watched a video online in the past decade. While YouTube’s new idea will likely not solve the wasteland that is the comment section, it should make life a little easier for content creators across the platform. No longer do they have to struggle with replying to comments when they can just get a robot to do it for them!
Smart Reply is a new system for responding to comments down in the Hellscape that exists below the video you’ve just watched. It’s actually a pretty neat idea, allowing creators to generate appropriate replies to comments without needing to type anything out or dredge through page upon page of nonsense. All through the power of an advanced automated learning AI program. Even better, it’s not just usable in English, but available in a whole load of languages, a real step forward considering Smart Reply on other Google services such as Gmail is limited to English.
“This model learns comment and reply representation through a computationally efficient dilated self-attention network, and represents the first cross-lingual and character byte-based SmartReply model,” writes some fancy Google researchers who’re just trying to show off with their big words.
Those same researchers also made it clear that the AI is most likely to respond to comments the creator would organically reply to, which means that it won’t work on some comments. Which is actually fine, given most comments are spam. It’s a nice tool for those creators who want to personally interact with audiences but don’t have all the free time in the world. Still, the last thing YouTube needs is more hollow, insincere responses.