The CEO of Zoom wants AI clones in meetings

Zoom’s CEO, Eric Yuan, has a big vision for the future of work where artificial intelligence-powered digital avatars can attend meetings on your behalf. 

This concept, which was revealed in a conversation with The Verge, would free up your schedule, giving room to other tasks and allowing you to spend more time with family or pursue creative endeavours. 

However, huge technological advancements are needed before this vision becomes a reality.

Yuan believes AI has the prospects to automate a good portion of our work activities, including attending meetings, managing emails, and making phone calls. This shift would grant us back valuable time to focus on strategic thinking and creative problem-solving.

In the interview with The Verge, Yuan outlined his vision for Zoom’s evolution. He sees the company transitioning from a video conferencing platform to a comprehensive workplace collaboration suite. AI would be the driver behind this change, automating the mundane tasks that currently dominate our workdays.

The current five-day workweek structure is unsustainable because it’s packed with repetitive tasks,” Yuan explained. He further confirmed that Zoom will help in achieving a four-day workweek by using AI to handle Zoom meetings.

And it’s not limited to Zoom meetings. AI can automate many aspects of our daily work, including chats, emails, phone calls, whiteboards, coding, creative tasks, management duties, and project management. By combining AI assistance with innovative applications, we can move in this direction. This is the core of our Workplace platform and represents the second chapter of Zoom’s journey.”

While attending meetings through AI-powered digital twins may seem futuristic, Yuan believes the technology is achievable. He acknowledges the challenges involved, such as developing realistic 3D avatars and large language models (LLMs) capable of making reliable decisions. However, he is optimistic about Zoom’s ability to overcome these limitations and bring his vision to life.

We discussed this vision a few years ago at Zoomtopia, our user conference,” Yuan said. “Imagine a world where you and I live in Silicon Valley, but miles apart. With future advancements, whenever we have a call, it will feel as if we’re sitting in the same room. 

A handshake will feel real, and a hug will convey genuine warmth. Additionally, real-time language translation will eliminate communication barriers. If attending a meeting isn’t essential, you can send a digital version of yourself to participate seamlessly in the conversation. This vision is what we envisioned years ago.”

To achieve this goal, Zoom is heavily invested in AI research and development. The company has established a focused AI team and is vigorously developing new AI functionalities for its platform. Building trust with users is important, and Yuan emphasizes the importance of creating LLMs that are accurate and dependable.

We’re transitioning into an AI-first company,” Yuan noted. “We’re looking at core functionalities like meetings and asking questions. ‘Meeting summaries’ have been available for nearly a year. Have you tried them? How can we improve them?’ We begin there. 

Consider our Contact Center. We’re embracing AI, and most of our services now include AI features. Customers who’ve experimented with our AI Companion features, particularly the daily meeting summaries, find them incredibly valuable and accurate.”

The future of work and the role of AI is a good one to watch despite uncertainties. However, Zoom’s vision for AI-powered digital twins is undeniably an interesting one.

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