Salesforce latest to sprinkle ChatGPT on itself, will ask language models to write code
Collaboration with OpenAI tech also threatens AI-generated sales emails, Slack messages, customer Q&As
Salesforce is attempting to jump on the ChatGPT bandwagon with a slew of product updates based on application of the language model to its CRM software estate.
The SaaS pioneer said its Einstein GPT — Einstein is its analytic and AI tool — “infuses” Salesforce’s proprietary AI models with “generative AI technology” in the hope of improving worker productivity.
The move comes hot on the heels of Microsoft’s announced plans to automate content creation and algorithmically-driven behavior as a way to help employees using customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems avoid rote work.
Salesforce has opted to allow customers to connect their data to language models from OpenAI, the company that developed ChatGPT, or to choose their own external models. The promise is that sales agents can then use natural-language prompts directly within their Salesforce CRM to write sales “personalized” emails, for example. The company also claims the technology will write responses to customer questions, thereby aiding customer service agents. Also in scope is the claim that the language models can write the words for marketers to use in campaigns.
The system is hosted on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s public cloud. The company said the system was built to follow “ethical” guardrails.
The package also includes Einstein GPT for Developers, designed to increase coder productivity by drawing from Salesforce Research's proprietary Large Language Model and using an AI chat assistant to write code and ask questions for languages like Apex, Salesforce’s object-oriented programming language.
In a pre-canned quote, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said: “Einstein GPT, in combination with our Data Cloud and integrated in all of our clouds as well as Tableau, MuleSoft and Slack, is another way we are opening the door to the AI future for all our customers, and we’ll be integrating with OpenAI at launch.”
Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, said the inclusion of the technology in the Salesforce suite of tools would help the company “learn more about real-world usage, which is critical to the responsible development and deployment of AI.”
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Meanwhile, $250 million is on offer as Salesforce promises to help fund startups and develop generative AI.
All of this is perhaps a welcome distraction for Benioff, who is chopping more than 7,000 employees to cut costs after Salesforce over-extended itself during 2020 and 2021 by hiring staff in numbers that it says it now can't justify.
The exec recently went on a 10-day "digital detox" to one of his favourite places, French Polynesia. It's tough at the top and someone's got to do it.
Benioff has managed to reduce pressure from activist investors, including Elliott Management, that are agitating for change at Salesforce despite it reporting a better-than-expected set of financial results last week.