Slack’s new AI features include channel recaps, thread summaries

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Ahead of Dreamforce next week – its big annual event in San Francisco – Salesforce has announced a set of new features for its instant messaging platform Slack, with a greater focus on deploying AI to make it easier to find and summarize content.

The three main additions include Slack AI, new automation functionality, and Slack Lists.

Slack AI is a native generative AI tool baked right into the app, aimed at providing useful, quick solutions for users.

At launch it will have three main uses:

  • Channel Recaps: It will allow users to get instant insights from any channel as well as provide status reports.
  • Thread summary: With this users can comment on any ongoing thread discussion.
  • Find the answers: This feature helps users quickly extract information – such as messages or files. It is also able to identify which information is most up-to-date.
Slack AI

Image: Slack

“I was a little skeptical about it, so I actually tried a different product for our UI redesign a few days ago, just like our own actual Slack,” said Slack’s VP of Product. Ali Rayl, said on a call Smart Company.

“I got a real answer, and I was really proud of it, because a week ago we actually changed the date. So I not only got the correct answer, but also understood how to give an updated answer.”

Slack is also adamant about making sure that trust is a factor here, especially since generative AI is still evolving across the industry and mistakes can happen.

“Summaries always have an attribute to say who said it, and this is important for two reasons,” Rail said.

“Number one, building confidence that these are real things that people have said. And number two, that context is really important. If it’s coming from an engineer versus a designer versus our CEO, I’m going to interpret something differently.”

Slack updates workflow builder for non-coders, adds list

Slack lists

Image: Slack

Slack is also introducing new automation capabilities, particularly in regards to its workflow builders, which will let non-coders set up automation processes.

It comes with integrations from partners like Google, Atlassian and Asana. There is also a connection to Salesforce Flow for more customized Slack workflows.

It also offers a more streamlined method for building custom Slack apps that can integrate with internal systems.

There is also a central automation hub where users can access templates, explore workflows used in their organization, and reuse automations from other teams.

Finally, the platform is introducing Slack List. This feature will help Slack users manage, track and address work within the app itself. This includes project tracking and request approval.

Our opinion:

With this new set of features, Slack looks to further establish its position as a holistic productivity platform.

We made this argument back in May when it first announced Slack GPT and the ability for users to integrate any chatbot on any platform they want. And it got even stronger last month, when the platform got a bit of a facelift, which we argued made it feel more like a social media platform.

This new set of features seems to reinforce the idea that Slack really wants to keep you on Slack.

“We want to make it as convenient as possible for people to work together. So when we figure out ways for people to work together that we can bring to Slack — we’ll try to figure out how to do that,” Rail said.

It’s worth noting that Slack Lists will be in pilot over the Australian summer and will launch sometime in 2024. At the same time, Slack AI will also be piloted at the same time.

It is currently unclear what plans will be added when it launches.

Workflow Builder is now available on paid plans and is subject to platform pricing. Slack’s new Automation Hub will be available later this month.

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