Originally published at: https://nextcloud.com/blog/8-ai-powered-content-collaboration-tools/
Our routine has completely transformed with the arrival of AI-powered content collaboration tools, as many frustrating creative challenges have been successfully tackled. Content generation, chatting, information search, spellchecking, you name it.
To keep up with today’s rising quality standards and enjoy the new level of working comfort, you may want to introduce a few AI tools in your software deck. Even more so, when your content collaboration platform seamlessly integrates those like Nextcloud does.
AI-powered content collaboration tools
In modern workspaces, a very fast cycle of implementing new generation productivity and collaboration instruments is evident. AI software is not an exception here. Artificial intelligence has proved to be useful in groupware and content creation apps, integrating seamlessly into the office IT. This diversity of apps allows teams to choose the tools that suits their workflow best, promoting efficiency and creativity.
One of the key benefits of integrating AI into content collaboration platforms is the significant boost in productivity and quality. AI can automate repetitive tasks, such as data analysis and formatting. This enables team members to focus on more creative and strategic aspects of their work. Moreover, with an ability to train the generative AI models on selective datasets, the outcome is technically configurable. Adding a custom touch, you can make the final content adhere to the desired industry standards and best practices.
Ethical AI concerns
However, ethical concerns surrounding the use of AI, and especially the publicly available cloud tools, are valid. One of the primary issues is the potential for bias and misinformation. AI may inadvertently generate content that perpetuates stereotypes or inaccuracies. Secondly, models provided by proprietary vendors often receive the training data in real time. It comes from the very users of the software, putting your data and your privacy commitments at risk.
And the law might not be there to protect you, at least not yet. AI companies keep successfully appealing international privacy charges to continue capitalizing on your pictures in someone’s interest.
Can AI be used ethically? The solution to the efficient and safe use of the AI in creative work is to promote conscious choice of AI-powered content collaboration tools. Equally important is to encourage continuous training and upskilling of the users.
At Nextcloud, we believe that ethical AI should:
- Be open source when it comes to the code behind the solution and the training routine.
- Be available as a self-hosted AI model within user’s infrastructure to provide ultimate control over the data.
- Grant open access to the training sets to ensure ethical and legal compliance.
Let’s discover eight AI-powered instruments that you can start using today and learn how to make informed decisions with principles of AI ethics in mind.
AI text generation
Let’s start with the simplest and the most widely applicable use for generative AI — text generation. Text tools see a booming success in creative writing since it takes a very little effort to achieve high quality results. And it doesn’t need a detailed input: even a very short prompt will bring you a rich, informative text based on massive knowledge database it has been trained on. Accessed from a browser tab or embedded in a text editor, text generation AI software is a handy addition to your routine.
However, developers of artificial intelligence models, including text generation tools, achieve the impressive delivery through exhaustive training. Very often they train the language models using your own input data. This makes online AI tools a questionable choice when working with sensitive business information.
At Nextcloud, we try to challenge this culprit. We give you freedom to choose what model to use and how your AI-powered content collaboration tools will handle your data.
Nextcloud Assistant is a text generation tool integrated in the Text app and the navigation bar that can write, summarize, and create headlines for any texts. You can host it on-premises, making sure your data doesn’t leak out to any third party. How? Read the Nextcloud AI guide to learn more about all AI apps you can use to power Nextcloud Hub.
AI Image generation
Image generation, though less applicable in wide use scenarios, gains popularity due to rapid advancement of GANs (Generative Adversary Networks). AI delivers contextually accurate visuals that look appealing and mostly natural. With the right prompt, it can easily troubleshoot problematic image search. Image generation with apps like Dall-E and Replicate can become a staple in creating artworks for articles, social media, web pages, and even ads.
In comparison to text generation, casually creating an image using artificial intelligence requires more skill. In practice, a detailed prompt with clear structure promises a much better result. Plus, in many cases, it takes lengthy trial and error practice before you receive the anticipated outcome. That, and still a not-so-perfect state of training make professionals reluctant to use it for more serious purposes like big budget advertising, for example.
However, the technology is already here, and everybody can use it to draft imagery for web content, illustrate ideas with sketches, and create simple visuals for social media posts. In Nextcloud, you can generate images in Talk chats and text documents using the Smart Picker feature. Choose one of several available options to run via an API or on your own server to enjoy a helpful tool that you can use for a multitude of tasks.
Need to skim a conversation, article, or technical document? There’s no easier way to do that than generating a summary with AI. Text processing capabilities of large language models allow quickly figuring out key points and grasping the text structure to build an accurate outline of bulky text input.
Imagine having to read a 10 page paper or a long web article just to understand key findings and conclusions. AI can save hours of work without missing important points. Based on your preference, you can get a brief one-paragraph summary or a structured rundown containing all analyzed problems, examined data and proposed solutions.
Nextcloud Assistant is not only here to help with writing, but also with text analysis. It can provide compact summaries for any texts you throw in to easily paste in a text file or a message.
Nextcloud Assistant is a great tool for text analysis. It can provide compact summaries for any texts you throw in to easily paste in a text file or a message.
A good headline is a major part of an article’s success. However, creative block or a lack of outsider’s perspective can sometimes get writers stuck with otherwise straightforward tasks. With generative AI, getting inspiration for a sharp and professional headline is a piece of cake.
In Nextcloud Hub, you can use Nextcloud Assistant to create headline ideas for your articles and web pages, summoning it from the navigation bar or right in the Text app. The command is pre-configured for you and doesn’t require a prompting skill.
Email thread summary
We all deal with bulky email threads at some point, and fairly often it is easy to get lost in the year-long conversation when you need to find certain information or provide a summary of your discussion. Just like getting a plain text summary, you can easily generate one based on the email history.
There are two ways to do it: manually via chat like with ChatGPT and by using a specialized summary tool. The ‘Thread Summary’ feature in Nextcloud Hub powered by Nextcloud Assistant brings the quality of communication to a whole new level while caring about your privacy.
Packed in an easy-to-use interface inside your Mail app, Thread Summary is reachable right from your thread to sum up the ideas, questions and to-dos brought up by participants. Nextcloud Assistant is open-source and hosted where you want it: on your server, in a data center you trust, or in the cloud of your choice.
It’s not a surprise that some email threads contain sensitive business information. Exposure of such texts may threaten not only your and your company’s privacy, but also that of your valued partners and clients. We strongly advise you to only use the tools you can trust to summarize your emails unless you want to end up in somebody’s database, or even a publicly available one.
AI speech-to-text dictation
Remember the time we all dreamed of typing from our spoken word without a keyboard? In fact, the speech recognition has been around for years, but with the arrival of tools like OpenAI and Whisper it really began to shine.
Speech-to-text dictation enables you to save a great deal of time when composing texts in both communication and writing, making it a great addition to all types of AI-powered content collaboration tools. Using voice typing to compose emails, chat with colleagues, draft documents, or make notes — those are just a handful of possible applications.
In Nextcloud, dictation with AI of your choice is available suite-wise via the Smart Picker menu. It only takes one command to activate the feature, no matter where you are. Use the Smart Picker in Talk, Mail, Deck, Collectives, or other native Hub apps.
Not quite the same as dictation, speech transcription helps convert pre-recorded audio to text. Multiple apps offer such tools to get summaries for YouTube videos, converting audio and video content into articles and more.
In Nextcloud, we found a way to improve the videoconferencing experience with the very same tool. Using the features of OpenAI or LocalAI in Talk, you can record team calls and get accurate written records of the meeting delivered to you in a text file. When enabled, the feature provides you with a transcription upon the end of the meeting together with the video recording. Use it to keep the meeting records for future reference, provide summaries to your team members, or even write interview articles based on calls.
Why use Nextcloud? If you value privacy and want to keep your collaborators at ease, you can keep the recordings and transcriptions locally. Running on your server and being open-source, AI tools available in Nextcloud are ethical, transparent and leak-proof.
Quick translation in chats, documents, marketing texts, or mail communication saves time and keeps browser tabs clean. With many AI-powered services available today, you can decide where your texts are processed and what translation model is used.
We advise you to take better care of how your work travels around the web. That’s why in Nextcloud there are different translation apps available for integration. Some of them you can even run locally.
Available on-premises tools include Local translation built using Opus models developed by the University of Helsinki and LibreTranslate. Both apps are open-source and operate independently without external processing. Another option is using the DeepL translator. It provides a wide range of available languages, but uses proprietary model and connects to the DeepL website.
Face and object recognition
A technology called ‘computer vision’ allows the machine to analyze images and videos to understand and interpret their content. Based on the training data and methodology, the AI can identify patterns and features, categorize media, and select independent objects.
It is a truly vast field of artificial intelligence. Image analysis with AI introduces multiple useful applications of visual recognition and media generation, from image and video editing to real-time visual effects in video conferencing. For example, the iPhone camera roll puts photos in automatic categories and Zoom applies dynamic backgrounds to your streams using computer vision.
As with any AI that manipulates your content, you must be aware of the privacy risks. For instance, Zoom’s March 2023 TOS update directly states that the company is permitted to use your content to train its AI model:
In Nextcloud, we offer locally running object recognition tools that won’t share your content with third parties for training purposes. Recognize app in Nextcloud categorizes media in your Nextcloud Photos collection based on objects it recognizes on your pictures. For instance, faces, landscapes, food, vehicles, landmarks and buildings, and more. In Nextcloud Talk, machine learning is used to apply backgrounds and blur to your picture during the calls. To implement this feature, we use the Jitsu library and a model called MediaPipe. Both are open source and self-hosted, securing a Green rating among our AI apps.
What is Nextcloud’s Ethical AI Rating and how do you choose the right AI-powered content collaboration tools consciously? Read below!
Nextcloud’s Ethical AI Rating 🔴 🟡 🟢
Nextcloud recognizes the growing importance of AI in technology. However, we are committed to providing our users with the benefits of AI without compromising on control over data and privacy.
We ensure that data remains under your control. First, by providing you with the choice of self-hosted AI features to run on your server. And second, by offering external integrations where the data is only sent to third parties when explicitly enabled.
To help you make informed decisions, we introduced an Ethical AI Rating. It ranks the apps based on whether they are open source, model accessibility, and availability of the training data. This rating system assists you in understanding the ethical implications of our AI features.