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Slack announced in September 2023 its intent to add generative AI features, and today the messaging application company rolled out its AI assistance. Slack’s new generative AI features are designed to increase workers’ productivity by consolidating messages and smart searches (Figure A). For IT and cybersecurity professionals, Slack summaries can offer quick looks at incident reports or tickets before workers dive into individual incidents.

Figure A

An image of the UI of an AI-powered search in Slack.
AI-powered search in Slack. Image: Slack

Plus, Slack announced personalized channel summarization across multiple channels and Salesforce Einstein Copilot integration are coming soon. Summarization digests and Einstein Copilot integration for Salesforce CRM could increase productivity by saving time and automatically organizing information, Slack suggests.

Slack AI summarizes messages, adds flexibility to searches and more

Slack’s three AI features available starting Feb. 14 are:

  • Thread summaries, which shorten long conversations and include links back to the original conversation (Figure B).
  • Channel recaps, which generate highlights from multiple, selected channels in a selected date range and summarize them. These are especially useful for when an employee has been away, Slack noted.
  • AI-powered search, which lets users ask natural language questions about Slack conversations.

Figure B

Slack AI can summarize important points from conversations. Image: Slack

The AI features run on a proprietary large language model housed within Slack. Customer data is siloed and not used to train other models.

“We’re all looking to drive ROI for our organizations,” Slack Vice President of Product Jackie Rocca told TechRepublic in a phone interview. “These features can save you time, from channel summaries to search, but they also can better equip you to make customer and business decisions. You don’t have to spend so much time being a digital detective trying to put the pieces together. You can just ask a question in real time, leverage all the knowledge in your organization, and prepare better for whatever work is thrown your way.”

In addition, Slack announced AI-powered apps from Notion and other members of Slack’s partner ecosystem. These apps are in the Slack App Directory.

How can I get Slack AI?

Slack AI is a paid add-on to the Enterprise Grid subscription; organizations will need to contact their Slack sales representatives to get an exact price. Slack expects more pricing information to be available when the AI features roll out to non-Enterprise Grid plans in the future.

Slack AI is available in U.S. and UK English only. Slack plans to expand Slack AI to languages other than English at an unspecified date.

SEE: NIST established the U.S. AI Safety Consortium in February to create standards around AI safety. (TechRepublic)

Upcoming AI features in Slack

Slack didn’t specify when more AI features might roll out, but plans for personalized digests with summaries of channels an employee may not actively follow but wants to keep an eye on and more AI-powered app integrations from Slack’s partner ecosystem are in the works.

Among those AI-powered app integrations will be Einstein Copilot, the generative AI assistant for Salesforce CRM. Einstein Copilot in Slack will be able to answer questions in Slack based on customer data securely shared with Salesforce CRM.

“Customers have found unique custom use cases just for their organizations,” said Rocca. “We really want to provide that open platform where, whether you build something in-house or whether it’s something that you’re partnering (with). Perplexity AI is coming onto Slack; Box has their AI solutions coming into Slack. So whatever tools that you’re using, we want Slack to be easy to access (and) the command center of all of your AI tools.”

Competitors to Slack with AI features

There are many competitors to Slack, including Microsoft Teams, Google’s Chat, ClickUp, Rocket.Chat and Mattermost. Here’s a brief look at the AI features offered by these Slack alternatives.

  • Microsoft 365 Copilot’s subscription includes generative AI features for Teams, such as meeting summaries and suggested follow-up tasks. Some of these Microsoft 365 AI features may be specific to certain subscriptions, like Teams Premium or Copilot for Sales and Service.
  • Google’s Gemini can integrate with Google Chat (depending on the user’s account type), providing message summarization and natural language queries.
  • ClickUp offers AI summarization and generative features such as changing the tone of messages or generating action items.
  • Rocket.Chat, an open source chat platform focused on security, does not offer built-in AI features but can access ChatGPT through app integration.
  • Mattermost, which is most suitable for technical and operations teams in highly-secured industries, does not offer built-in AI features but can access GPT-4 or local large language models through an AI sandbox.


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