With the help of OpenAI, Discord finally adds chat summaries | Engadget

Surprise, Discord is partnering with OpenAI to integrate ChatGPT throughout the app. There’s a chatbot, obviously, but the company also plans to use machine learning in a handful of newer and potentially useful ways. Starting next week, the company will begin rolling out a public experiment that will improve Clyde, the built-in bot Discord employs to notify users of bugs and respond to their slash commands, with chat capabilities. Judging by the demo he showed, Discord envisions people turning to Clyde for information they would have gotten from Google in the past. For example, you can ask the chatbot for the local time where someone on your server lives to decide if it would be appropriate to send them a message. You can summon Clyde at any time, even in private conversations between your friends, by typing @Clyde.


Discord is quick to point out that Clyde is programmed not to bother you or your friends. Administrators can also disable the chatbot if they don’t want to use the feature on their server. The first time you activate Clyde, Discord will display a subscription message. For users concerned about privacy, Anjney Midha, Discord’s director of platform ecosystem, told Engadget that the company is not sharing user data with OpenAI to help the startup train its machine learning models.

Aside from Clyde, Discord is using OpenAI technology to improve AutoMod, the automated content moderation tool the company introduced last June. As an update, server administrators and moderators can configure AutoMod to automatically detect and block inappropriate messages before they’re posted by creating a list of words and phrases they don’t want to see. In the nine months since it started rolling out AutoMod, Discord says the feature has blocked more than 45 million spam messages.

In the future, the tool will use large language models to interpret and apply the server rules. In practice, this should make AutoMod able to detect and take action against people who try to go against a community’s norms and expectations. In a demo, Discord showed that AutoMod took action against someone who tried to circumvent a server rule against self-promotion by writing their message in a different language. In that case, AutoMod was not preprogrammed to search for a specific word or phrase, but could use the context to infer that there was a possible violation.

Screenshot of AutoMod, showing the tool's new ability to enforce server rules.


According to Midha, Discord has been exploring how machine learning can improve user security for a while. While she didn’t have any initial data to share on AutoMod’s new capabilities, she said the early results are “super promising,” adding that she’s “never seen anything like it.” The new and improved AutoMod will be rolling out to select servers starting today.

If you’re the type of person who uses Discord primarily to chat with friends, the Clyde and AutoMod updates probably won’t drastically change your experience with the app, especially since many other apps already offer ChatGPT integration. But Discord is also using OpenAI technology to power a feature everyone should find useful: conversation summaries. If you’ve ever joined a large server only to immediately feel like you can’t keep up with some of its most active members, this feature promises to solve one of Discord’s pain points. When it hits a limited number of servers next week, the feature will start creating packages designed to give you an overview of chats you may have missed while you weren’t in the app. Each package will include a title, a summary of what was said and the images that were shared, as well as a record of who participated. You won’t have to scroll endlessly to try to piece together something you missed.

It might seem like Discord is just another tech company in the generative AI craze, but Midha wants users to know that machine learning has been a part of Discord’s identity for a while. Every month, more than 30 million people use AI applications through the platform, and nearly 3 million servers include at least one AI experience. On GitHub, many machine learning projects feature links to Discord servers, a fact Midha attributes to Discord as a natural place for those conversations to start. With its emphasis on bringing friends and communities together, the company believes it has an edge over the competition.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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