Slack boosts AI capabilities with new ChatGPT app

Slack boosts AI capabilities with new ChatGPT app

ChatGPT for Slack enhances the collaboration tool's search capabilities, summarizes conversations, and responses.

Credit: Dreamstime

Slack is set to launch a ChatGPT app for Slack, allowing customers to use the generative AI technology to create conversation summaries, act as a research tool, and provide writing assistance.

ChatGPT is a large language model from San Francisco-based OpenAI that uses natural language processing (NLP) to converse with a person via text and generate a wide range of content upon request. Last week, the company made the first APIs for ChatGPT available, enabling businesses to integrate the technology into their communications platforms.

OpenAI had been long-time Slack customers and developed the ChatGPT app for internal use before offering to recreate it on the chat platform’s open API ecosystem said Noah Weiss, chief product officer at Slack.

“There's 2,600 apps in the Slack App Directory but this is one of the more exciting ones because it's built on this technology that OpenAI has been developing that I think fundamentally changes what's possible in a conversational interface,” Weiss said.

With the ChatGPT app for Slack, there are three current use cases. Users will be able to access AI-generated conversation summaries to catch up on what’s happening in channels and threads; quickly find answers relating to any project or topic via the use of AI-powered research tools; and use the writing assistance function to have ChatGPT write replies, status updates, and meeting notes.

The app is currently in beta testing but Weiss expects it to be released publicly in the coming months.

How ChatGPT for Slack works

Unlike other apps that exist within Slack’s open ecosystem that, once downloaded, are accessible to all users in a particular Slack instance, the ChatGPT app will have to be installed and authenticated by each user who wants to make use of the technology.

In addition, Weiss said ChatGPT won’t have access to any conversations that take place in a channel that the specific user doesn’t have access to, and noted that OpenAI released a statement last week that said any data accessed in order to create summaries is not stored for any purpose, including model training.

OpenAI has the ability to customize ChatGPT's large language model in order to fit different use cases. Weiss said that the version that will be available to Slack users will be “more conservative in the risk-taking sense” in that, if it can’t answer a question or an answer isn’t necessarily suitable for the workplace, the model has been tuned to acknowledge that.

The other difference between the ChatGPT app that will be available in Slack and the publicly available model is how information is sourced. Weiss explains that his team worked with OpenAI to make it so that ChatGPT (once installed and authenticated) can use the search engine API that already exists to access information from a user's Slack instance, in addition to the information that the ChatGPT language model was trained on.  As an example, Weiss said that you could ask the technology to write you a summary of regulations such as HIPPA or GDPR.

Once it has pulled the information and summarized it, ChatGPT for Slack also provides a citation so users know exactly where in Slack that information was pulled from.

However, he noted that although each individual user has to authenticate the app, there’s no personalized element to the technology and nothing learned by the model will be as a result of specific usage patterns.

Einstein GPT for Slack

ChatGPT is not the only generative AI technology that Salesforce and its subsidiaries have been making noise about this week. On Tuesday, the company announced Einstein GPT, a generative AI model that will eventually be incorporated into five Salesforce products, including Slack.

Where ChatGPT is an app that users will be free to download, or not, as they choose, Einstein GPT will automatically be integrated into all of Salesforce’s sales, services and marketing cloud tools and applications that integrate with Slack, providing natural language access to CRM functions from within the messaging platform. 

For example, Weiss said customers using the Salesforce app in Slack will be able to use Einstein GPT to ask a natural language question about customer records that exist in Salesforce Sales Cloud.

“[Einstein GPT] isn't going to be a new application,” he said. “This is going to be an inbuilt capability with natural language question and answering that can generate actions and so forth within Salesforce’s Customer 360 apps,” he said.

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