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AI Tracking of Slack Messages by Major Companies #PrivacyConcerns

Major Companies Using AI to Track Slack Messages

The use of AI to track messages on business communication platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams is becoming more widespread, with companies like Starbucks, Chevron, T-Mobile, Walmart, and Delta using AI tools to monitor employee behavior and attitudes. Aware, a software startup, is at the forefront of this trend, claiming to keep employee data mostly anonymous. However, experts have expressed concerns about the potential privacy and decision-making issues that could arise from using nascent AI technology to track employees. Aware’s AI tool is used to gauge how employees respond to changes in company policy or marketing campaigns and to identify potential risks in the workplace. The startup’s suite of large language models can analyze text and images in conversations to flag incidents related to bullying, discrimination, harassment, and other toxic behaviors. While the CEO of Aware claims that the data collected on workers’ sentiment and toxicity doesn’t include their names, there is a feature that enables AI to pull an individual’s name if certain keywords and statements are flagged as a policy violation. Some privacy experts have raised concerns about the privacy and security of AI models and the lack of transparency in disclosing surveillance practices to employees. This use of AI to track employees is part of a larger trend of workplace surveillance, especially as employers push return-to-office mandates. Previous instances of workplace tracking mechanisms have been linked to employees being fired, and experts are calling for more transparency and accountability in the use of AI for employee surveillance.

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