Cloud computing technology concept background, digital illustration generative AI
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ChatGPT set the record in February 2023 for the web’s fastest-growing user base ever, and now, the global customer relationship management company Salesforce is joining the likes of Starbucks, Lyft, Mastercard, and most recently Microsoft and HubSpot in deploying chatbot artificial intelligence capabilities.

Salesforce hopes to add the magic of large language generative models to its portfolio of sales, marketing and communications platforms by marrying OpenAI’s chat juggernaut to its own Einstein AI data-crunching machine. The resulting mix is named Einstein GPT; though, the company has not announced when its official launch will be.

In what Salesforce is calling the world’s first generative AI CRM technology, Einstein GPT will “infuse Salesforce’s proprietary AI models with generative AI technology from an ecosystem of partners and real-time data from the Salesforce Data Cloud, which ingests, harmonizes and unifies all of a company’s customer data,” per the company.

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From AI to GPT

Einstein AI, which launched in 2016, is a framework that uses such capabilities as machine learning, image processing and natural language to automate business processes. A tool to help customers do things like analyze email interactions to improve sales and CRM communications, it processes some 200 billion AI-powered predictions per day, according to Salesforce.

SEE: Artificial Intelligence Ethics Policy (TechRepublic Premium)

With GPT, Einstein will, to put it simply, not only think but act in real time. The company says the system grabs real-time data from the Salesforce Data Cloud, a repository of customer data. Users can then connect that data to OpenAI’s advanced AI models or choose their own model and use natural-language prompts directly within their Salesforce CRM to generate content that changes on the fly based on changing customer information.

Einstein GPT will automate CRM tasks and enhance customer strategy

During the Salesforce TrailblazerDX 2023 Innovation Preview on Tuesday, March 7, Sanina Parulekar, senior director of product marketing at Salesforce, said Einstein GPT will combine data from publicly available and private sources to train models with CRM data. This data will enable Einstein GPT to deliver AI-generated content for Slack, sales, service, marketing, commerce and IT (Figure A).

Figure A

a letter to a customer generated by Einstein GPT
Image: Salesforce. Einstein GPT generates a sales letter to a customer.

“When we announced Einstein AI in 2016, it was the first generation of AI for CRM and introduced thousands of organizations to AI, making it extremely relatable for every business,” Parulekar explained. “Sixty percent of IT leaders today are looking to implement generative AI.”

SEE: Salesforce supercharges its tech stack with new integrations for Slack, Tableau (TechRepublic)

How Einstein GPT will power CRM, sales and developers

Salesforce said ChatGPT functionality will allow Einstein GPT to have applications for the following:

  • Sales: Auto-generating sales tasks like composing emails, scheduling meetings and preparing for customer engagements.
  • Service: Generating knowledge articles from past case notes for auto-generating personalized agent chat replies to increase customer satisfaction through personalized and expedited service interactions.
  • Marketing: Dynamically generating personalized content to engage customers and prospects across email, mobile, web and advertising.
  • Slack apps: Delivering AI-powered customer insights in Slack like smart summaries of sales opportunities and surfacing end users’ actions like updating knowledge articles.
  • Developers: Improving developer productivity with Salesforce Research’s proprietary Large Language Model by using an AI chat assistant to generate code and ask questions for languages like Apex (Figure B).

Figure B

code generated by Einstein GPT on a black background
Image: Salesforce. Einstein GPT generates code based on prompts.

“The world is experiencing one of the most profound technological shifts with the rise of real-time technologies and generative AI,” said Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, in a statement. “This comes at a pivotal moment, as every company is focused on connecting with their customers in more intelligent, automated and personalized ways.

“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.”

Salesforce is keeping humans in the AI process

Clara Shih, executive vice president and general manager of Salesforce Service Cloud, said the integration of ChatGPT with Einstein AI was expedited with collaboration from Salesforce’s Office of Ethical and Humane Use of Technology in order to put ethical, anti-bias guardrails around the generative framework. Shih added that Einstein GPT is built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s secure public cloud, which the company is expanding to the European market (Figure C).

Figure C

Clara Shih, EVP and GM of Salesforce Service Cloud presenting on generative AI ethics, security, and safety
Image: Salesforce. Clara Shih, EVP and GM of Salesforce Service Cloud, discusses generative AI ethics, security and safety during this week’s TrailblazerDX 2023 Innovation Preview.

Additionally, Shih asserted that the Salesforce generative AI products would not be operated without human oversight.

“We designed into Einstein GPT that there will be a human in the loop, who has final say and can make edits on what generative AI creates,” Shih said.

The company is also launching an AI startup fund called Generative AI Fund from its global investment fund Salesforce Ventures. The $250 million will invest in high-potential startups, bolster the ecosystem and spark the development of responsible, trusted and generative AI.

Read next: Using AI and ML to optimize edge IoT performance (TechRepublic)

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