Zoom has launched a new AI-powered feature that can help you catch up on virtual meetings you’ve arrived to late.
This comes in the form of Zoom IQ, which has evolved from a smart set of Zoom tools into a full “smart companion” that uses technology from OpenAI — the organization behind ChatGPT — to help provide catch-up notes for meeting latecomers in addition to meeting summaries and other information.
Zoom IQ previously provided highlights and chapters of the things discussed in recorded meetings, but this new take on Zoom IQ can actively be asked to summarize a meeting so far, as well as answer further questions based on what’s already been discussed in the meeting.
According to Zoom’s chief product officer Smita Hashim, Zoom IQ can use customizable AI models that can be tuned to work with a company’s vocabulary and scenarios to better capture what was said in meetings. How well this works in practice remains to be seen, but perhaps Zoom IQ could future out what’s meant by "leveraging the mindshare" or other business-style sayings and distill them into more digestible snippets.
Alongside helping people catch up on meetings, Zoom IQ will also provide things like meeting whiteboards using text prompts and the basis, to effectively capture the core topics of what’s being discussed. It will also will provide receipts of the meeting as a whole. In addition, Zoom IQ will automatically generate responses to colleagues, presumably with some form of oversight, and can summarize conversation threads in the Zoom Team Chat tool.
In short, this upgrade basically turns Zoom IQ into a form of a virtual assistant but one backed up by ChatGPT-related tech.
Actual AI assistance
It could be argued that the likes of ChatGPT and Google Bard are, for the most part, novelties that can enhance the search for information online or act as quick ways to produce content — perhaps not in the most ethical fashion (think students using it to create papers). But Zoom IQ’s use of so-called AI could be a mini revolution for productivity.
In a world of virtual meetings, it can be hard to keep track of everything and make sure one logs into a meeting on time; just last week I missed the first part of a team meeting thanks to other distractions. So having an AI tool that can smartly fill in the gaps sounds like a seriously useful and smart use of chatbot-related tech.
How well Zoom IQ will work in practice isn't abundantly clear, as it'll be offered on an invitation-only basis in April. But Zoom does have ambitions to introduce some of the AI-centric features into its video conference app more broadly.
Regardless, it’s a promising sign that AI chatbots could be a force for good rather than a means to avoid work or replace human jobs.