Lidiane Jones, Slack’s chief executive officer, warns that the cost of chips is rising and will impact AI use.

Lidiane Jones is the new CEO of Slack. She believes that the rising cost of generative artificial intelligent could slow down its growth.

Graphic processing units (GPUs) are needed to keep up with the exponential growth of the technology.

The shortage of these components has resulted in higher costs for customers, and has been a source of concern for technology firms.

Jones revealed that she had spent a great deal of time on this topic in her first interview since taking the position. Will that limit the amount of adoption by customers? How can we make sure that these capabilities do not cost so much that organizations will be hesitant to use them?

She said: “That’s something I think the market is going to have to monitor really closely because it could slow the adoption of [generative AI] spending and how constrained the world gets.”

In the last six months, Nvidia’s share price, a multinational American company that manufactures these specialised chips has more than doubled.

The hype surrounding generative AI is incredible. It can create human-like images and written works. ChatGPT, launched by Microsoft’s OpenAI and to the public in November of last year, has allowed for widespread adoption by consumers and industry.

Last week, Apple announced that it was expanding its expertise in this area. Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, described AI and machine-learning as “core, foundational technologies” that are integral to nearly every product we build. Amazon has said that every division is working on generative AI.

Slack was purchased by Salesforce in July 2021, for $27,7 billion. Slack is a business communication company that Stewart Butterfield founded. It is pushing AI integration into its products, just like its parent company. Last week it announced a partnership with Salesforce called Slack Sales Elevate.

Salesforce has 72,000 employees around the globe and generated $31.4 billion in revenue for 2023. This is an 18% increase on the previous year, and includes approximately $1.5 billion from subscriptions and support sales through Slack.

40% of FTSE 100 firms use the UK as their third-largest market.

Jones stated that there will always be a high price associated with any new technology, until more vendors enter the market. She believed the “sizable amount of computing power needed to process the data from these large languages models” could be a bottleneck in reducing costs.

Experts said that there is no immediate solution to the shortage of GPUs. Ondrej burkacky, global lead of McKinsey’s semiconductors practice, said: “A buildup of additional capability is on its way, but it might take one to two years to ramp up.” This is causing prices to rise and players to delay their plans for large-scale AI models deployments, at least in short term.

Aaron Levie tweeted last week that the problem was so severe, he suggested companies share their computing power. “Free trillion-dollar startup idea: Airbnb for GPUs.”

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