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Zoom Is Releasing Tech to Help You Blow Off Zoom Meetings

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Finally, a company is using generative AI to help us, not replace us.

Zoom announced the fall release of Zoom AI Companion, a new generative artificial intelligence tool that promises to deliver “powerful, real-time digital assistant capabilities to help users improve productivity and work together more effectively.”

So what does that mean in non-press-release speak? Here are some of the highlights of what it will be able to do:

  • Recordings of Zoom meetings will have autogenerated highlights and smart chapters that viewers can quickly zip through. They’ll also have review summaries and next steps.
  • If you’re late for a meeting, instead of bringing things to a screeching halt with questions (or sitting there clueless), you’ll be able can catch up by submitting questions into a side panel and receiving AI-generated answers.
  • After a meeting, hosts will receive a meeting summary that they can share with people who were unable to attend (or people who were clearly sleeping with their eyes open).
  • Zoom says by spring 2024, AI will give attendees real-time feedback on their presence in meetings, even offering coaching to improve their conversational style and presentation skills. (That’ll be fun to have a robot tell you your brainstorming ideas were asinine, right?)

Related: Zoom, the Company That Took Remote Work By Storm, Is Telling Employees to Return to the Office

Zoom says that AI Companion will be available at no additional cost if you’re already a paying customer. “We are transcending the hype in generative AI by delivering tangible products and disrupting the industry’s pricing model, making it easy for businesses and people like you and me to leverage generative AI’s full benefits in our day-to-day work,” said Zoom’s chief product officer Smita Hashim in the company’s statement.

Now, if any of this has you feeling queasy about privacy, the company says that it does not use any customer audio, video, chat, screen-sharing, or attachments to train its AI. Plus, they say that AI Companion is turned off by default — it will need to be activated each and every time by users. So no recordings of meetings you didn’t want preserved for the ages. And also, no recordings of important meetings that someone forgot to press record on. So here’s a free business idea for all the techies out there: develop AI to remind us to turn the AI on.

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