Nobody Knows the Company Like Slackbot

Nobody Knows the Company Like Slackbot

If your organization is on Slack, you may often find yourself using it to ask your colleagues questions, or to answer them. But in keeping with the work-chat company’s ambition to take over the world enterprise software market, Slack envisions developing its platform into “the gateway to a workplace artificial intelligence system that will answer routine questions and proactively seek out information you might otherwise miss,” Arik Hesseldahl reports at Recode:

The vision was sketched out by Noah Weiss, Slack’s head of search, learning and intelligence in his first interview since joining Slack earlier this year. Soon, he says, Slack will be talking back in a way that’s more advanced than the many lightweight software bots that populate it now. In time, Slack’s underlying AI will understand your role inside a company, anticipate your day-to-day needs and act like a well-trained office assistant. …

“Workers spend about 20 percent of their time looking for information, or looking for a person who has the information they need,” Weiss said. “And we’ve found that a lot of the questions people have are asked over and over again.” Those questions can be basic — “What’s the password to the office Wi-Fi network?” — or weightier — “Who’s in charge of sales in Berlin?” In time, Slack itself will be smart enough to answer.

Assuming Slack is successful at that, the development of AI chatbots with that kind of broad institutional knowledge would be a huge time-saver, but could also shake up the way organizations think about who knows what—and make them much more dependent on technology.