The Gradient
The Gradient: Perspectives on AI
Andrew Lee: How AI will Shape the Future of Email

Andrew Lee: How AI will Shape the Future of Email

On developing a smart AI assistant, and how email clients will look in the future.

In episode 118 of The Gradient Podcast, Daniel Bashir speaks to Andrew Lee.

Andrew is co-founder and CEO of Shortwave, a company dedicated to building a better product experience for email, particularly by leveraging AI. He previously co-founded and was CTO at Firebase.

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  • (00:00) Intro

  • (01:43) Andrew’s previous work, Firebase

  • (04:48) Benefits of lacking experience in building Firebase

  • (08:55) On “abstract reasoning” vs empirical capabilities

    • (10:30) Shortwave’s AI system as a black box

  • (11:55) Motivations for Shortwave

  • (17:10) Why is Google not innovating on email?

  • (21:53) Shortwave’s overarching product vision and pivots

  • (27:40) Shortwave AI features

  • (33:20) AI features for email and security concerns

  • (35:45) Shortwave’s AI Email Assistant + architecture

  • (43:40) Issues with chaining LLM calls together

  • (45:25) Understanding implicit context in utterances, modularization without loss of context

  • (48:56) Performance for AI assistant, batching and pipelining

  • (55:10) Prompt length

  • (57:00) On shipping fast

  • (1:00:15) AI improvements that Andrew is following

  • (1:03:10) Outro


The Gradient
The Gradient: Perspectives on AI
Deeply researched, technical interviews with experts thinking about AI and technology. Hosted, recorded, researched, and produced by Daniel Bashir.