Two people huddled around a laptop engaging in a discussion, while one person points at screen

Why we built the ChatGPT app for Slack

A conversation with Simón Posada Fishman, the OpenAI solutions engineer who helped develop the breakthrough app

By the team at Slack8th March 2023


OpenAI is changing the world through innovations in artificial intelligence with ChatGPT, a natural language processing (NLP) application that uses the GPT language model to generate responses to user input. Launched in November 2022, ChatGPT’s powerful generative technology has dominated the conversation in just four short months, and OpenAI couldn’t have done it without collaborating, communicating and finding efficiencies in Slack.

On the heels of the new ChatGPT app for Slack being announced, we talked with OpenAI solutions engineer Simón Posada Fishman, who developed the app, on how he hopes to change the way the world perceives artificial intelligence.

Tell us a bit about your role at OpenAI.

As a solutions engineer for OpenAI, I mostly work with our customers and partners to help them integrate our AI technology into their workflows and systems so that they can build solutions and change the way that they work and interact with each other.

I get to engage with all sorts of people, companies and industries around the world to build AI responsibly and safely. The things that are now possible to build make my job quite the dream.

What is ChatGPT, and what is OpenAI’s mission?

ChatGPT is a large language model that has been optimized for dialogue. It’s essentially a machine learning model that you can interact with in a conversational manner.

On a broader scale, ChatGPT can code, it has historical knowledge of the world, it can help you write content, it can summarize information for you. It has been trained on a lot of knowledge, so it’s a pretty smart tool that can help you with a variety of personal and professional tasks.

OpenAI is an AI research and deployment company, and our mission is to build AI in a safe way that benefits all of humanity. Everyone is incredibly driven, smart and motivated about the future possibilities of AI, so our internal culture is magnetic. It’s a revolutionary technology and we’re at the forefront of that, ensuring we’re responsible stewards that are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

We’ve just introduced the ChatGPT app for Slack, which is industry-disrupting news. Can you walk us through your decision to build the app for Slack and why it felt like the perfect platform for you?

Slack is “where work happens.” Bringing ChatGPT, a model that has this immense knowledge and capability for information processing, into the place where you’re already communicating and working with your colleagues is magic.

We want people to be able to use the app right within Slack, where they’re working through complex problems and making decisions, without context switching back and forth between different applications. Having this powerful AI technology embedded within Slack to deliver instant conversation summaries, research tools and writing assistance will help millions of people work more productively.

And to piggyback off that, why develop the Slack app now?

Quite simply, it was a very natural thought. At OpenAI, we are already in Slack, working all the time, so we realized we needed to add ChatGPT into our primary workspace. It didn’t take a lot of thinking or debate to see this was a good idea with large returns on investment.

Plus, it’s really fun to build things within Slack. We don’t talk about the “fun” side a lot; engineers and developers focus on the end product. But the Slack platform provides a lot of capabilities right out of the box, and it was way easier and quicker to build a secure and scalable app than I expected it to be.

I would encourage people to build Slack apps and to build other tools within Slack. It’s an intuitive way to build something for your company and add real value, whether it’s automation or integration.

Let’s talk a bit more about the ChatGPT app for Slack. Why should people be excited to use it?

You can think of the app as a second brain that is right there with you in Slack, that you can rely on for instant help as you go about your work to be a more productive person. This app can truly help you understand and digest content and answer questions quickly for you.

And that’s something that I’m really amped about: seeing this app out in the world helping people. It’s already freed up some of my own time, so I cannot wait to see the myriad of ways this helps not only my coworkers but millions of people around the world.

Speaking of your own time savings, how has the way you worked changed since integrating ChatGPT?

I use ChatGPT all the time, in and outside of Slack. It’s a super-powerful tool for a programmer, as I’m always looking for answers to difficult problems.

Right now, I’m learning a new programming language, and there are a lot of obscure glitches and new terms. Throughout the day, you’ll see me ask ChatGPT for guidance and advice. It’s definitely made a tangible impact on how fast and productively I work.

To wrap up, we want you to look ahead to the future. What thrills you the most?

If we take a step back and think about the really big picture, AI is going to deeply accelerate a lot of what we do as a society. It can help us tackle some of the hardest problems that we’re facing right now. We can think about how it will help us face climate change, accelerate academic research and propel forward general technological progress. It’s going to be a huge boost to our intellectual productivity as a society. Of course, it’s also incredibly important that we think deeply about the risks that come with building AI and move forward safely. If we get it right, it’ll be huge.

Learn more:

  • Access the ChatGPT app for Slack beta by signing up here, and learn about the product here
  • Learn more about OpenAI’s journey as a Slack customer here
  • Watch Slack’s TDX keynote with Zack Kass, the head of GTM at OpenAI, and Cal Henderson, the co-founder and CTO of Slack, here
  • Read about Salesforce’s Einstein GPT, the world’s first generative AI for CRM, here

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