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Slack boosts AI capabilities with new ChatGPT app

Slack is set to launch a ChatGPT app for Slack, which will allow 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 talk to a person via text and generate a wide variety of content on demand. Last week, the company released the first APIs for ChatGPT, enabling companies to integrate the technology into their communication platforms.

Longtime Slack customers, OpenAI 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 are 2,600 apps in the Slack App Directory, but this is one of the most exciting because it’s built on this technology that OpenAI has developed that I think fundamentally changes what’s possible in a conversational interface,” said Weiss.

With the ChatGPT app for Slack, there are three current use cases. Users can access AI-generated conversation summaries to keep track of what’s happening across channels and threads; quickly find answers related to any project or topic through the use of AI-powered research tools; and use the writing help feature to let ChatGPT write replies, status updates, and meeting notes.

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

How ChatGPT for Slack works

Unlike other apps that exist within Slack’s open ecosystem and, once downloaded, are accessible to all users in a given Slack instance, the ChatGPT app must be installed and verified by any user who wants to use the technology.

In addition, Weiss said that ChatGPT will not be able to access conversations that take place in a channel that the specific user does not have access to, noting that OpenAI released a statement last week saying that all data used to create summaries will not be used for any target saved, including model training.

OpenAI has the ability to adapt ChatGPT’s large language model to different usage scenarios. Weiss said the version that will be available to Slack users will be “more conservative in its risk-taking sense,” in that if it can’t answer a question or an answer isn’t necessarily appropriate for the workplace, it model has tuned to recognize that.

The other difference between the ChatGPT app that will be available in Slack and the publicly available model is how information is obtained. Weiss explains that his team worked with OpenAI to ensure that ChatGPT (once installed and verified) can use the pre-existing search engine API to access information from a user’s Slack instance, in addition to the information it ChatGPT language model is trained on . For example, Weiss said you could ask the tech to write you a summary of regulations, like HIPPA or AVG.

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

However, he noted that while each individual user must authenticate the app, there is no personalized element to the technology and nothing learned by the model is a result of specific usage patterns.

Einstein GPT for Slack

ChatGPT isn’t the only generative AI technology that Salesforce and its affiliates have been making noise about this week. On Tuesday, the company announced Einstein GPT, a generative AI model that will eventually be included in five Salesforce products, including Slack.

While ChatGPT is an app that users can download for free or not, as they choose, Einstein GPT is automatically integrated into all Salesforce sales, services, and marketing cloud tools and applications that integrate with Slack, providing natural language access to CRM functions from the messaging platform. For example, Weiss said that customers using the Salesforce app in Slack can use Einstein GPT to ask a natural language question about customer records that exist in Salesforce Sales Cloud.

“(Einstein GPT) is not going to be a new application,” he said. “This will be a built-in natural language question and answer capability that can generate actions and so on within Salesforce’s Customer 360 apps,” he said.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.