Dreamforce Digest, day 1: Salesforce lives up to AI hype with Einstein launches

9 months ago

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New AI-powered products launched on the opening day of Dreamforce helped Salesforce live up to the AI hype it’s been steadily building in the weeks leading up to its flagship conference.

The K2 team is at Dreamforce and we’re bringing you our highlights from each day of the San Francisco event.

Here’s our day-one round-up – from Marc Benioff seeking AI nirvana, to Sam Altman revealing his favorite film.

Is Dreamforce really AI-force?

Is it time to ditch the “dream” from the title of Salesforce’s annual get-together? Unless you’ve been holed up in Alcatraz, you’ll be well aware that Salesforce has been pushing one mantra in recent months: Dreamforce is to be seen as…the world’s biggest AI event, period. Leah McGowen-Hare, SVP for the Trailblazer community, was first on stage on Tuesday and it didn’t take her long to hammer home this point. Salesforce “doesn’t do basic”, she said. “We are now the biggest AI event.” The implication is that Dreamforce has transcended the Salesforce ecosystem and has become a conference for the wider AI industry.

Marc Benioff tackles AI trust concerns at Dreamforce

The Salesforce CEO’s keynote at Dreamforce wasn’t simply a sales pitch. He acknowledged that generative AI has brought risks and challenges alongside the opportunities and excitement. “We have to start thinking about what we’re doing with this technology,” Benioff told the conference. Even Salesforce’s own research shows that 52% of consumers don’t think AI is safe and secure. Benioff’s lofty ambition is that Salesforce can help change perceptions of AI. “We want to build a trusted AI platform for customer companies,” he added.

Salesforce seeks “AI nirvana” as it launches Einstein 1

Benioff then officially launched the landmark product release of Dreamforce 2023: Einstein 1. Described by the CEO as “our life’s work” and a stage on the road to “AI nirvana”, the platform is the “first predictive and generative AI for CRM”. Einstein 1 will be integrated with Salesforce’s Data Cloud, which will enable users to process a greater volume of data and carry out more analysis. To learn more, check out this press release from Salesforce.

Einstein Copilot gets ready for take-off

Einstein now also includes Einstein Copilot and Einstein Copilot Studio, as unveiled by chief product officer David Schmaier at Dreamforce on Tuesday. The former is an out-of-the-box conversational AI assistant built into the user experience of every Salesforce application. The latter allows companies to build their own AI-powered apps with custom prompts, skills, and AI models. Both aim to integrate generative AI into workflow – and they’re coming later this fall.

Slack joins the Dreamforce AI party

Not wanting to be overshadowed by its owner, Slack also revealed an upgrade of its AI capabilities. CEO Lidiane Jones took to the Dreamforce stage to talk of “the power of Salesforce and Slack coming together”. More specifically, she announced that Slack is using AI to let users catch up more quickly on team activity. “Now, with one click of a button Slack AI will automatically summarize everything I have missed,” Jones told Dreamforce. With her company facing competition from Microsoft Teams and Google Workspace, Jones will no doubt make good use of this feature herself in the busy months ahead.

Salesforce and Google get friendly(ish)

Google remains both a rival and a partner to Salesforce. After a flurry of its own product announcements on Tuesday, Salesforce also announced an expansion of its strategic partnership with its fellow tech titan. It’s all about integrating content from Salesforce and Google Workspace (e.g Google Calendar, Docs, Meet, and Gmail). Think, using your Salesforce contacts and opportunity data to generate customized Google Slides via – you guessed it – generative AI.

Sam Altman talks movies, new AI agency

Sam Altman, the OpenAI CEO and arguably the hottest person in tech right now, joined Benioff for a fireside chat at Dreamforce. Perhaps surprisingly, Altman told a packed auditorium that a new governing agency might be needed to develop a framework to “deal with short-term and long-term challenges” created by AI. “Getting something going – even if just focused on insight and not oversight – I think would be great,” he said. Altman added that his favorite sci-fi movie is the 2013 film, Her. “The things Her got right – like the whole interaction models of how people use AI – that was incredibly prophetic.”

An inspirational career story from Dreamforce

If you’re tiring of all the product announcements, CBS News has this inspiring story about Salesforce consultant and Dreamforce attendee Sima Samara. London-based Samara originally moved to Europe from the Middle East as a refugee, but her pharmacy degree wasn’t recognized, so she trained up in Salesforce and became a Trailblazer last year.

Dreamforce tries to be more sustainable

With many delegates flying in from across America and the world, it’s a stretch to call Dreamforce eco-friendly. But Salesforce says it’s the most sustainable Dreamforce ever, pointing to 10m gallons of water conserved, and its use of 100% compostable packaging and over 5,000 square feet of biodegradable signage.

Join us tomorrow for a wrap-up of day two. And if you want to stream Dreamforce sessions for free, head to Salesforce+.