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How Slack will use AI to sort thousands of messages

The Slack app pictured on an iPhone.
Thousands of companies use Slack to communicate internally. Photo: Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg via Getty Images

More than 50,000 companies use Slack for internal communication, and the average user sends 70 messages a day. To help users manage their messages and filter the most crucial information, Slack is adding artificial intelligence to its platform, per the MIT Tech Review.

The big picture: Slack hired Noah Weiss, a computer scientist from Stanford, to spearhead the effort in 2016. "Weiss aims to make Slack function like your ruthlessly organized, multitasking assistant who knows everything that’s going on and keeps you briefed on only the most salient events," the Tech Review reports.

The details, per the Tech Review:

  • With natural-language processing and machine learning, Weiss plans to "refine search queries and give people recommendations when they open the app."
  • Slack already has some of these AI features in place, including one that highlights up to 10 messages that "its algorithms deem most important" and puts them in a list for users to review when they come online after having been away.
  • "Another Slack goal is to help management keep a better eye on its employees. One of the team’s newest initiatives crunches data to construct online dashboards that give executives a bird’s-eye view of how employees are interacting, which topics are trending, and how sentiment changes over time."