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This article was published on August 17, 2015

Slackbot may soon be a lot more helpful than Siri

Slackbot may soon be a lot more helpful than Siri
Nate Swanner
Story by

Nate Swanner

Former Reporter, TNW

TNW's former West Coast writer in the PNW (Portland, Oregon). Nate loves amplifying developers, and codes in Swift when he's not writing. If TNW's former West Coast writer in the PNW (Portland, Oregon). Nate loves amplifying developers, and codes in Swift when he's not writing. If you need to get in touch, Twitter is your best bet.

Slackbot, the handy (but also annoying) assistant buried within communications platform Slack, may soon be a lot more useful. Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield says Slackbot may one day be more useful than Siri.

“Apple spent billions of dollars on Siri and worked on it for a very long time with hundreds of engineers and a huge dataset of voices,” said Butterfield. “Siri is nearly useless.”

Slack just hired its first data scientist, but won’t create a silo’d offering. Rather than start its own Siri and spend “billions,” Butterfield says Slack will seek partnerships instead.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 1.09.08 PM

Typically accessed via Slack’s direct message feature, Butterfield says Slackbot may soon have access to machine learning and natural language processing. The goal seems to be for Slackbot to automate things like scheduling meetings or resurfacing messages you were mentioned in but didn’t respond to.

The goal is to turn mundane events like scheduling meetings or keeping tabs on a team into boilerplate issues. If a company were to use Slack as a hub to manage projects, a post from an employee about being stuck on that project may spark Slackbot’s interest.

It could then offer to schedule a meeting with the project manager so everyone could discuss best practices for getting through a rough patch, thus saving a bit of time. In aggregate, users would spend less time scheduling and more time doing.

Scarlett Johansson, Facebook MoneyPenny and Corporate Productivity [The Wall Street Journal]

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