Andy Boxall / Digital Trends
Artificial Intelligence is a big selling point of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, at least according to Samsung. For the most part, the features in its Galaxy AI suite are quite impressive. Except for one of them, which is so bad, I’m amazed Samsung had the guts to release it, let alone mention it during the launch.
- What is Chat Assist?
- Consistently awful
- Surely it’s better when being casual?
- Not the Assistant you’re looking for
I’m talking about Chat Assist, a feature that adapts your hastily typed messages to make them suitable for different situations, such as sending them to your boss. Before I go into why Chat Assist is so awful, I implore you to never, ever send a message created by the charisma-void that is the AI behind it to anyone. At least, not if you actually want to sound like a human.
What is Chat Assist?
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends
During Samsung’s Unpacked 2024 event, when the Galaxy S24 series was unveiled, Samsung showed two different ways of changing the tone of your written messages. It first demoed Google’s Magic Compose feature, which was initially revealed during Google I/O in 2023, and then showed its own Chat Assist feature as another way to send “expressive texts using AI.” The thing is, Magic Compose is only available on the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro at the moment, leaving most people with no choice but to use Samsung’s Chat Assist. Oh, you poor, poor devils.
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Chat Assist is part of Samsung’s fairly dire Samsung Keyboard, and it is there for all to enjoy in any messaging app you use. I’ve been using it mostly in WhatsApp, but it also works in Messages, Teams, Line, Instagram, and just about any app where you can talk to people. It’s activated with a tap of the sparkly icon above the keyboard and has three different options — Spelling and Grammar, Translate, and Writing Style. The last one is the one you don’t ever want to choose.
The magic happens as it reads your message and then provides a series of alternative messages tailored to specific scenarios — such as Casual, Polite, and Professional — ready for you to spice up the conversation, wow people with your polished prose, or impress with your extensive vocabulary. The trouble is, it won’t do any of those things and will instead make people assume you’re a scammer, a bot, or an alien giving its best shot at sounding like a human.
Chat Assist Samsung
No matter how bad you think you are at stringing a few words together in a message, Chat Assist will not help. In fact, I don’t think anyone will benefit from this ridiculous feature. Don’t believe me, or think that I’m exaggerating? Oh no, I’m probably being too kind about it. Let me give you a few examples of what Galaxy AI’s woeful Writing Style does to your messages.
You write a normal, generic message to a friend: “Hey! How was your weekend? I know it rained a bit, but I still did some work in the garden. Want to get coffee later?” All very ordinary, but what if you wanted to send this to your boss? Don’t worry, Chat Assist will convert it to a Professional style! This is what it comes up with:
“I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to inquire about your availability for a coffee meeting later today. Despite the inclement weather over the weekend, I managed to accomplish some tasks in the garden. Please let me know when you are able to meet.”
I hate to break it to you, but the recipient will never have “availability” if this is the message you send them, especially as you clearly don’t know the difference between an SMS and an email. It’s like that episode of Friends when Joey (sorry, Baby Kangaroo Tribbiani) uses a thesaurus to jazz up his letter to Chandler and Monica’s adoption agency. “You can pick the word that makes you sound smartest,” Ross tells him, and that’s exactly how Chat Assist approaches its professional tone.
Surely it’s better when being casual?
Chat Assist’s professional tone is a no-go if you want people to believe you’re a human and not a pod person, but what about a casual tone? Chat Assist has several options for less formal messages, including ones that add a few emojis and hashtags if your goal is to sound like a 12-year-old. But what about its basic Casual tone?
Say, I’ve got no personality, and the best I can manage when going for a friendly message is, “I have been busy with work this week. I would like to do something over the weekend if you’re available?”
Will Chat Assist come to my rescue and make me sound fun? Let’s see.
“Hey, I’ve been swamped with work this week. Wanna hang out this weekend if you’re free?”
Well, fellow kids, it’s definitely more casual.
Alternatively, for the same message, Chat Assist’s Social option is, “I’ve been swamped with work this week, but I’m hoping to catch a break over the weekend! Anyone up for some fun? #WeekendVibes #LetsDoThis”
It’s no worse, but the “up for some fun” part could be a bit OnlyFans for some, and the hashtags are more mid-life crisis than young and carefree. Chat Assist’s Polite tone changes the ending to, “I would love to spend some quality time with you” if you prefer something mildly passive/aggressive. I have yet to come across one message generated by Chat Assist that I would want to use or feel that it represents me in any way at all.
Not the Assistant you’re looking for
Don’t tap this sparkly icon Andy Boxall / Digital Trends
I could continue listing examples of Chat Assist’s complete failure, but you get the point. If the idea behind the feature is to inject personality or successfully and subtly alter the way a message reads to make it suitable for different people, it simply doesn’t work. However, it’s not the words themselves that are at fault; it’s that the AI itself doesn’t have a personality and simply isn’t able to comprehend or understand the situations it’s supposed to be writing for.
Outside of using it ironically, as it would be quite funny actually to conduct conversations with its suggestions, there’s no value at all here. Samsung needs to dramatically improve Chat Assist’s Writing Style mode, especially if it wants to charge people for using some of the Galaxy AI features in the future or just sweep it under the rug. You know, like it did with Bixby.
It’s surprising Samsung decided to include its own take on Google’s Magic Compose at all. It’s everything that’s bad about AI, and it makes the otherwise quite interesting Galaxy AI suite look like a gimmick. Outside of playing with Chat Assist for a few cheap laughs, no one is ever going to seriously use it after they’ve seen how it butchers messages.