Slack, a popular workplace communication tool owned by Salesforce, has recently come under fire for its data usage practices related to AI training. Users have discovered that their data is being utilized to train Slack’s AI models unless they specifically opt out, a process that requires contacting Slack via email. This revelation has led to significant backlash from users who feel their privacy has been compromised.

Key Update

Slack has been using customer data, including messages and files, to train its machine learning (ML) models by default. This practice was highlighted when a Hacker News post went viral, revealing that users must email Slack to opt out of this data usage. The privacy policy, which many found confusing and outdated, does not clearly mention the specifics of AI data training. Despite the backlash, Slack states that customer data is used to improve features like channel and emoji recommendations, and search results. The company insists that this data usage is limited and does not allow the models to learn or reproduce specific customer data. However, the policy’s lack of clarity has left many users frustrated and concerned about their data privacy.

Technical Terms

AI (Artificial Intelligence)

Technology that enables machines to perform tasks that typically require human intelligence.

ML (Machine Learning)

A subset of AI where algorithms improve through experience and use of data.

LLM (Large Language Model)

A type of AI that can generate and understand human language, often used in conversational AI.

Relevance to New Tech Career Seekers

Understanding how companies like Slack use AI and data can be crucial for tech career seekers. Being aware of privacy policies and data usage practices can help you make informed decisions about the tools and platforms you use or develop. Additionally, this situation highlights the importance of transparency and ethical considerations in AI, which are increasingly significant in the tech industry.