Zoom and AI: The future of video-conferencing

In the digital age, we’re seeing a growing demand for enhanced video conferencing experiences.There are lots of improvements that can be made. How many times have you been on a video call and had technical issues? At least for me, just about every time there’s at least one person who faces a problem.

Zoom’s latest initiative to improve its offerings

Well, the video conferencing companies realize this, and are taking the initiative to improve their product offerings. Video-conferencing platform, Zoom, and others are working on enhancing their platforms with artificial intelligence. Zoom exploded onto the scene during the pandemic in 2020. With the rise in popularity of video conferencing, came some fierce competition from competitors Microsoft and Salesforce. Microsoft has released a premium version of Teams that leverages GPT 3.5 which they’ve also heavily invested in. SalesForce’s Slack is also working on adding ChatGPT to their flagship chat platform, Slack. 

Zoom’s history of utilizing AI

Zoom has a history of utilizing artificial intelligence in their products. Zoom previously announced OpenAI as a partner to add ChatGPT to Zoom IQ back in March. The collaboration with OpenAI is working towards providing conversation summaries. In a blog post, Chief Product Officer Smita Hashim, walked through what they’ve released so far with Zoom IQ and what’s coming next. Recently they’ve released a feature that lets you record only the highlights of a meeting and also quickly access the chapters of a meeting. Zoom made a domain-specific version of this called “Zoom IQ for Sales” which captures insights from meetings with potential customers.

Zoom IQ For Sales Dashboard

Announcement of partnership and investment in Anthropic

This week, Zoom announced an investment in AI research company, Anthropic, through their investment arm, Zoom Ventures. In their press release, Zoom shared that they’re interested in using Anthropic’s technology across their video-conferencing product suite. The company did not disclose the financial terms of the deal. However, we can guess that it’s a substantial amount since Google reportedly invested $300 million in a February funding round. Hashim mentions in the blog post that AI is a key component of the company’s strategy which is reinforced by this most recent investment news.

Zoom’s vision of AI being used on their Platform

Zoom is taking a federated approach to their vision of AI on the platform. This means they’re using a combination of their own AI models and models from partner companies OpenAI and Anthropic. You can also leverage the new Contact Center AI functionality. The new Contact Center powered with AI can incorporate models developed by the customers themselves.

Zoom’s federated approach to AI with using your own models, partner models, or proprietary Zoom AI models.

Anthropic’s technical expertise AI solutions for video conferencing

Anthropic brings significant AI expertise to the table. The company was founded by former OpenAI employees who aim to create fewer problematic responses with their ChatGPT competitor. So far, Anthropic has also had a collaboration with privacy-centered search engine DuckDuckGo. DuckDuckGo announced in March that they’ll be adding Anthropic’s technology into their DuckAssist feature that can summarize Wikipedia articles. Additionally, Anthropic has made its way into the generative AI chatbot for Quora, named “Poe” as well as the AI assistant from Notion. 

Specific AI applications that Anthropic brings to Zoom

The product that R&D company, Anthropic, has brought to market is an AI assistant named Claude. Claude can do things such as handle customer service requests, parse legal documents, and offer coaching on things such as how to get a raise. At its core, Claude is a large language model that is similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. It can be readily added to Slack as well. The team markets Claude as an alternative to ChatGPT with greater direction control within a conversation.

They also brand Claude as a “constitutional AI” operating by a set of very strict rules to closely monitor toxicity and helpfulness metrics to avoid AI hallucination. AI hallucination is the name for when a generative AI will just make up information (something we’re all afraid of).

Anthropic details in their paper that the model uses a two stage process to evaluate itself and reduce harmful responses as well as the training of a preference model to identify what those harmful responses are.

Anthropic’s two stage constitutional AI training process

How will Anthropic help Zoom?

The first use for Claude within Zoom’s tech stack is to assist with the Zoom contact center, which offers customer support to users. Zoom plans to eventually extend the technology into Zoom’s Team Chat, Meetings, Phone, and other products as well.

Zoom plans to make their Zoom IQ product an even better smart companion. Enhancements that were mentioned by Zoom were summarizing chat threads, drafting content for chats or emails as well as summarizing tools for organizing ideas. 

If a teammate is late to a meeting, they can ask Zoom IQ for a summary of what they missed and even ask questions. If a team wants to do a whiteboard session, Zoom IQ will be able to generate this based on text prompts. Afterwards when the meeting is over, Zoom IQ will summarize the meeting and post a summary to Zoom Team Chat, along with action suggestions for those involved. The program can set up additional meetings along with context for your discussion. Zoom IQ chat compose will write responses alongside you by generating smart text or rephrasing existing text.

The future of Zoom’s AI tech?

The combination of Zoom and AI is bound to transform multiple products that Zoom offers. Zoom and competitors are becoming ever more intertwined with AI. We can look forward to what they’ll be coming out with in the future.

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