Zoom reveals a generative AI assistant for paid users

5 Sep 2023

Image: © prima91/Stock.adobe.com

Zoom faced criticism last month for its terms of service, which implied it would collect and use customers’ data without consent to train its AI models.

Zoom is bringing out a new batch of AI-powered features for its customers, including a generative AI assistant for paid user accounts.

The company said this assistant – Zoom AI Companion – is designed to improve productivity by removing repetitive tasks and unnecessary distractions. Zoom plans to incorporate this AI tool into its “entire platform” including its meetings, team chat, phone, email and whiteboard services.

The video platform said it will “significantly expand” its generative AI offering this year, following the free trials that the company introduced in early June for thousands of companies.

Zoom chief product officer Smita Hashim said the company is “transcending the hype” in this market by delivering “tangible products” and disrupting the industry’s pricing model.

“We were founded on doing what’s right for our customers, and we firmly believe that offering Zoom AI Companion at no additional cost to our paid Zoom user accounts delivers tremendous value as we all navigate the challenges facing us today,” Hashim said.

“We are excited to see our customers and users start using AI Companion and about our strong roadmap for further innovation underpinned by a commitment to responsible AI.”

By early 2024, Zoom said it plans to give users the ability to interact with its AI Companion through a conversational interface that can understand the context in questions, which sounds similar to popular AI chatbots like ChatGPT.

The announcement comes a month after Zoom faced criticism for its use of customers’ data without consent to train its AI models.

The video conferencing platform announced new AI-powered features in March and updated its terms of service at the same time. One section in these terms stated that customers granted Zoom a license to “display, copy, distribute, translate, transcribe, create derivative works and process customer content”.

In response to the backlash, Zoom added a line to this section in August to make it clear that this is an option that customers can consent to.

“Notwithstanding the above, Zoom will not use audio, video or chat customer content to train our artificial intelligence models without your consent,” the updated terms state.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic