Slack CEO: AI Revolution Has Been 'Amazing' – UC Today

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Slack CEO Lidiane Jones also said that a situation where Slack develops highly personalized AI agents is ‘definitely a plausible future’
Published: September 19, 2023
Kieran Devlin
Slack CEO Lidiane Jones has described 2023’s AI moment as “amazing” and stressed that the company’s access to unstructured data makes its AI capabilities “so powerful”.
Speaking to AFP, Jones enthused about the power of generative AI to transform the collaboration business’s offering to customers, highlighting how its products were revolutionising workflows internally. She also underscored how Slack’s swathes of newly-released, AI-powered features usher in a new age for the company — enabled by Slack’s access to high-quality business data.
“When I got back from my two-week vacation this summer, I had mountains of messages from customers and colleagues to catch up on,” Jones said. “I asked ‘Slack AI’ to summarise everything, and in two hours, I was up to date, instead of spending a whole day, or even the week.”
It’s amazing what has happened to the world. We’ve launched more features in the last nine months than in the several years before(…) We have all of a company’s knowledge on the platform… staff are collaborating across different departments, all of that unstructured data is there. That makes our AI capabilities so powerful, because it has so much context.”
Jones added that access to new AI tools aids in summarising all brands of content or automating complex admin tasks, including approving expenses.
Jones also outlined that Slack has no intention to develop its own large language model for now, stating, “We don’t feel we need to reinvent the wheel,” but suggested that the company might, at some stage in the future, develop personalised AI agents. “It is definitely a plausible future. And, look, I have a family, I work, it’s very busy… Isn’t it amazing to think that a system can track all of it in one place?”
Jones also emphasised one of Slack’s critical differentiators from arch-competitor Microsoft Teams — its interoperability with various third-party tools and apps that means users can interact with generative AI chatbots directly within Slack from different providers. Slack currently works with Anthropic AI’s chatbot Claude and plans to integrate OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
Jones described this third-party compatibility as Slack’s “strength” before adding, “We’re quite different from Teams… We’re first and foremost a very open platform.”
Slack’s relationship with Microsoft is a fractious one. In July 2020, Slack filed an official complaint alleging that Microsoft had been illegally exploiting its dominance in the market to undermine competition through bundling Teams with its Office suite. This summer, the European Commission opened a formal antitrust investigation into Microsoft’s packaging of Teams and Office. Microsoft offered to unbundle the two services in August, but earlier this month, the European Commission deemed the concession inadequate.
Microsoft’s investments in OpenAI and ChatGPT propelled it to the front of the AI pack among vendors late last year, with upcoming solutions Copilot and Bing Chat Enterprise promising to reinforce its market position. However, Slack (and Google, for that matter) has made significant investments in AI that have seen the company catch up with its rival.
In recent months, Salesforce and Slack have launched several AI solutions to strengthen its market position as a leading collaboration vendor.
In May, Salesforce announced Slack GPT, a conversational AI tool to improve business productivity.
The technology leverages CRM and conversational data and adds AI features into Slack, generative AI app integrations, and the functionality to utilise customer insights through the Customer 360 and Data Cloud. The arrival of Slack GPT followed the release of Salesforce’s Einstein GPT. However, Slack GPT offered more advanced agent-assist innovations within the Service Cloud application than Einstien GPT.
Last month, Salesforce launched Slack Sales Elevate, a personalised sales home that integrates Slack’s collaboration platform with Sales Cloud and comprises AI-powered features.
Slack Sales Elevate is built into Slack, creating a hub that centralises information, streamlines processes, and automates admin tasks in the platform where sales teams collaborate with peers, partners, and customers. The offering is also enhanced by Salesforce data, boosting productivity and collaboration among sales teams.
This month, Salesforce announced three new advanced productivity tools for Slack in Slack AI, Slack lists and new automation capabilities.
Slack AI is built natively into the platform to provide tools such as channel recaps and thread summaries. Slack lists empowers users to track work tasks, manage requests, and oversee cross-functional projects with a visible communication flow.
Furthermore, the new automation capabilities empower every user to automate tasks regardless of coding expertise. The Taskflow Builder enables users to connect tools and a hub for easier access. Developers can also build and deploy custom apps with Slack as the host.
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Apple TV Transforms Into Meeting Room Device
Most UK Businesses Actively Shrinking Office Space Post-Pandemic
Google Reportedly Nearing Release of GPT-4 Competitor, Gemini
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