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Salesforce unveils new Slack AI features

New features for the Slack AI will include personalised answers to user questions about chats, AI-powered search functions, and channel recaps.

By Greg Noone

Salesforce has announced the rollout of new generative AI features for its workplace messaging app, Slack. The new integration, named Slack AI, will provide users with personalised responses to questions about conversations they’ve undertaken within the app, in addition to powering new search functions and summarising events in separate channels and threads. Following a months-long pilot, Slack AI is available now as a paid add-on for Slack Enterprise users in English only, Salesforce continued. 

“These new AI capabilities empower our customers to access the collective knowledge within Slack so they can work smarter, move faster, and spend their time on things that spark real innovation and growth,” said Slack’s chief executive, Denise Dresser. 

A photo of a mobile phone showing the Slack logo on its screen, used to illustrate a story about the rollout of new Slack AI features.
Salesforce’s announcement of new Slack AI features seemingly cements its embrace of all things generative AI across its product portfolio. (Photo by Kaspars Grinvalds / Shutterstock)

Slack AI features aimed at boosting user productivity

Founded in 2009 in Vancouver, Canada, Slack quickly became one of the leading workplace messaging apps, though Microsoft’s rival Teams platform has lately challenged its supremacy. In its announcement of Slack AI, parent company Salesforce emphasised how the addition of generative AI capabilities would make the product easier to use and, in so doing, enhance collaboration between users. 

This includes AI-powered search functions that deliver concise answers about Slack messages in response to conversational prompts. Users will also be able to harness channel recap and thread summary functions to summarise group conversations over a discrete period, allowing them to reacquaint themselves faster with projects after time away or insert themselves into ongoing tasks at greater speed. 

Salesforce added that Slack AI runs on a large language model within Slack that abides by the same security guardrails as its other products, including a prohibition on using customer data to train its in-house LLM. The company also teased more capabilities for Slack AI arriving soon, including rolling channel summaries and a native AI integration with Einstein Copilot, described as a “conversational AI assistant for Salesforce CRM.” 

Salesforce all-in on AI

Today’s announcement is in keeping with Salesforce’s general embrace of all things generative AI, beginning with its launch in March 2023 of its own native AI product, EinsteinGPT (itself a combination of in-house models and OpenAI’s GPT 3.5). This was seemingly underscored by chief executive Marc Benioff at the firm’s ‘Dreamforce’ conference in September. “We’ve recognised something very important – we’re in this AI revolution but it’s going to impact who we are and how we operate and it will bring us back to our core values,” Benioff told delegates. 

Salesforce’s chief executive was also cognizant of the risks involved in placing AI chatbots at the front and centre of its product portfolio. “These systems are good, not great,” Benioff said. “They can give answers that aren’t exactly true. You can call them hallucinations, but I call them lies. These LLMs are very convincing liars.”

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