Slack launches AI bot to help manage never-ending work chats

Slack, the popular workplace messaging app, has officially launched its Slack AI. An intelligent assistant, the bot is designed to make it easier to catch up on the ever-expanding list of work threads and channels that haunt your dreams.

Salesforce-owned (CRM) Slack has been testing Slack AI with a handful of early adopters, but now it’s opening the service up to all of its customers, albeit as a paid add-on. Slack, however, didn’t disclose the price of the offering.

Slack AI is broken down into three main features: summarization for threads, summarization for channels, and a search option. To access threads and channel summarization, you go into the appropriate thread or channel and click or tap the star symbol in the top right corner of your Slack Window.

Slack is bringing a new AI bot to make finding information amid your various chats and channels easier. (Image: Slack)
Slack is bringing a new AI bot to make finding information amid your various chats and channels easier. (Slack) (Slack)

Slack AI will then run through the content of your thread or channel and summarize it into a bite-sized list complete with key topics and action items. The idea is to eliminate the hassle of having to scroll through long conversations that you might have missed while you were in a meeting, focused on other work, or out of the office.

Slack vice president of product Jackie Rocca said the feature is also helpful in time-sensitive situations. One example she cited was workers attempting to respond to a customer issue. The expert who would normally resolve the problem, however, is offline and by the time they get online there’s been a lengthy conversation with the customer and other workers about the issue.

Rather than scrolling through the back-and-forth between the customer and co-workers, the expert could use Slack AI to summarize the chat and get the gist of what’s going on right away.

Slack's AI capabilities include an improved search, giving workers quick access to their team's knowledge base. (Image: Slack)
Slack's AI capabilities include an improved search, giving workers quick access to their team's knowledge base. (Slack) (Slack)

The same general concept applies to channel summaries. You can choose to summarize recent conversations, from the last seven days or within a specific time period.

If you use Slack and have any colleagues who are prone to sending a particularly prodigious number of messages, Slack AI could be a godsend. Better still, if you go on vacation and want to catch up on everything you missed, the feature should help cut down on the amount of time you need to get up to speed.

In addition to summarizing threads and channels, Slack says you can use its AI bot to search for specific content. Rocca offered an example of a new hire trying to figure out what a frequently used acronym means. Rather than having to ask around, the person could instead search for it via the Slack search bar, which should pull up a thread that explains the acronym.

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Slack AI is just getting out into the broader world beyond initial tests, so it could run into trouble as other AI platforms have in the past. It’s also important to note that Slack says it doesn’t train any large language models on customer data. And Slack won’t disclose which large language models it uses; it says it is hosting the models in its virtual private cloud and that no data leaves Slack’s infrastructure.

Slack is just the latest enterprise business to get into the generative AI game. Parent company Salesforce already offers its generative AI-powered Einstein GPT, while rival Microsoft (MSFT) has added its Copilot generative AI software to its Teams chat platform. Google (GOOG, GOOGL), meanwhile, incorporates its newly renamed Gemini AI into its Workspace suit of enterprise apps.

Daniel Howley is the tech editor at Yahoo Finance. He's been covering the tech industry since 2011. You can follow him on Twitter @DanielHowley.

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