Slack taps AI to summarize your long-winded co-workers

Slack taps AI to summarize your long-winded co-workers

About Slack taps AI to summarize your long-winded co-workers

Slack announced on Wednesday a number of new AI-powered features, including the ability to get summaries of threads and recaps of what’s happened in channels.

Why it matters: Slack is pitching the AI features as a great way for new workers to get up to speed and for overwhelmed employees to keep tabs on myriad threads and channels without having to read each message.

Slack taps AI to summarize your long-winded co-workers

Details: Slack AI, as the company is calling the new features, is a paid add-on for enterprise plans and will show up in a variety of ways.

In search queries, Slack will use AI to offer answers to natural language queries, drawing on information through the messages and channels that each individual employee can access.

Channel recaps allow workers to catch up on unread communications by summarizing what’s transpired over the prior seven days, or any other configurable period range. Slack is marketing this as a useful choice for folks who have been on vacation or parental leave, for example.
Similar to channel recaps, AI-generated thread summaries provide a quick way to grasp the main points of a lengthy discussion without having to read the entire back and forth.
Of note: Slack is requiring companies that want to use its AI features to pay an extra per-month fee for all users. Microsoft and other rivals allow companies to choose to pay for only certain workers to have access to paid AI features.

While Slack promises to provide free trials of Slack AI to users, the company’s strategy may make it more difficult for businesses to determine whether such services are worthwhile before implementing them across the board.
The cost per person per month is not disclosed by the firm, but it is stated to be competitive with what other enterprise companies are charging for their generative AI services. The company notes that the cost would vary depending on the size of the customer.
Notion has taken a similar tack, charging $10 per person each month for its AI capabilities, but requiring businesses to buy it for every employee that uses Notion.

Slack taps AI to summarize your long-winded co-workers

The big picture:

Slack’s announcement is part of a trend among enterprise software and services companies to add generative AI features to their products.

  • They’re offering customers an easy, if sometimes pricey, way to experiment with the power of generative AI without having to revamp their data storage or business processes.
  • But some early adopters of the paid versions of enterprise AI (particularly from Microsoft) don’t think today’s features justify their price tag.
  • Act astutely: Strong AI technologies can increase the hazards to privacy. Although Slack AI won’t display content from channels that employees aren’t authorized to see, companies that have been careless with channel permissions may find the functionality problematic.

    Between the lines: Slack has a wealth of information on company procedures, customer information, and other details that may be uncovered by generative AI, while being created initially as a better means of communication for corporate employees.

    CEO Denise Dresser said to Axios, “We feel like we were made for this moment.”
    Based on feedback from early customers, Slack claims that the new capabilities are saving employees an average of 95 minutes per week.
    Product chief for Slack Noah said, “We can unlock, frankly, years and years of institutional knowledge in all kinds of ways.”

Weiss stated to Axios.
Next up: Weiss assured me that the company’s use of AI to optimize Slack data is only getting started with these early functionalities. “Needless to say, it is the tip of the iceberg,” he stated.

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