GenAI: How to send a rude email nicely
Promptly delivering what nobody knows how to say
I recently needed to write a letter to my child’s school, asking them if they would reconsider one of their policies that was impacting my family. I was confident if I asked my question directly, the school would categorically say no without considering my request. It was time to dust off the old persuasive writing techniques I learned in school. The only problem is, no words were coming to mind, and this email needed to be sent urgently. I’ve never been a person great at words (which is probably why this blog has so few entries). I’m very grateful my wife has, in abundance, what I lack in this regard. While I am a cyber-security engineer by trade, she was a former therapist and now an elementary school teacher. She can craft words to convey feelings, tone, and emotion like no other human I’ve met. She was busy and the email was urgent.
So I turn to the next best thing. Hello Google Bard. I need you to write a persuasive essay in five paragraphs or less to my son’s school. I fed Bard some key details about how the policy is impacting my son, and also some details about who my son is, and activities he is involved in. To avoid any irritating prelude, I also told Bard that it could assume the staff of the school was aware of the policy so Bard didn’t attempt to describe the policy in detail to people who already understood it.
With a few minor edits, my email was on its way to the school, and I’m still anxiously awaiting their reply. Most likely, their staff will give Bard three bullet points about why I’m wrong, and the policy will never change, and finally ask Bard to sweeten up the response to be kind. With the rising popularity of tools like Bart and ChatGPT, we’re now seeing email extensions where you don’t need to leave your compose window to get these well crafted responses. Not only can these extensions generate content for us, some can also summarize it into bullet points where we can see the highlights of an email without needing to read it.
So let me get this straight. I type in a bunch of bullet points, expend it to five paragraphs, and your email client will summarize that text back into a bunch of bullet points for you? At this rate, I don’t think we’re far from having our email clients simply sending the original prompts across the wire, and letting our email clients generate the text it shows. Imagine the features we could build into this world! You could have your email client customize the tone of the messages, on a per-sender basis. My mother’s emails would feature a sarcastic and undercutting tone of voice. My son’s email’s would sound like a Harvard law student wrote them. My beautiful wife’s email would, well, let’s leave that up to your imagination.
In all seriousness, if I were to email you a bullet point list to argue my point, you’d consider me rude and insensitive. If your email client summarizes my text back into bullet points, then you’re grateful for the time it saved you. We have now created GenAI systems so my bullet point list can be expanded into nice text, that your side collapses back into bullet points… and now we don’t feel like the other person is rude. Here’s my petition, just email me with your AI prompts, and I’ll reply in like-kind. I’ll have fun finding the right prompts to generate a response that will make you laugh.
(This content 100% my own, no AI generated this blog)