Dreamforce 2023the mega convention organized by the software company Salesforcereturned him for a few days to San Francisco the lost shine and served to demonstrate that – at least for now – the Californian city remains the mecca of technology.
More of 40 thousand people from all over the world gathered to hear about the future of artificial intelligence (AI) and business around the Moscone Convention Center and Yerba Buena Gardens, a central area “hacked” for years due to the consumption of fentanyl -a synthetic opioid analgesic much more powerful than morphine- and the drama of the homeless.
These scourges have been seriously affecting tourism for years and led the CEOs of several technology companies to analyze the possibility of move the headquarters of their companies towards friendlier areas of Silicon Valley; or even outside the state of California.
For attendees of dream forceHowever, the experience in 2023 was significantly better than usual.
During the three days of sessions, lectures and workshops, this section of downtown San Francisco became a kind of techno-natural-utopiawith multiple pavilions themed like a national parkattendees dressed as rangers, an artificial waterfall, 50,000 plants, 150 trees, live music and food plant-based.
To enter, of course, it was essential to show a credential and go through a metal detector. This is America.
“San Francisco has been incredibly clean, beautiful and safe for the last three days, and it is fantastic that he can give his best for this great event. “It’s important to ask why the city can’t be this clean and safe every day,” he said. Marc BenioffCEO of Salesforce, at the end of the convention.
It was not his only criticism of the local (Democratic) government: Benioff – a native of San Francisco, and the largest private employer in the city – even warned that the 2023 edition of Dreamforce It could be the last one to take place there because of the violence and dirt seen in the streets of the downtown.
Although the convention area was clean and safe, inequality was visible a few blocks awayespecially in The Tenderloin neighborhood -perhaps the most dangerous-, where from the comfort of an autonomous “robotaxi” dozens of people could be observed sleeping in tents and consuming fentanyl under the warm Californian winter sun.
Making attendees – from all over the world – feel welcome had a valuable return for San Francisco: Dreamforce injected almost 90 million dollars into an economy which is still below pre-pandemic levels.
“Other countries envy this kind of capacity, intellectual capital and human resources. If the city puts in the effort, it can be amazing,” said Benioff, who mentioned the artificial intelligence as a “huge catalyst” so San Francisco can attract new companies and regain its relevance on the scene tech from the west coast.
The AI boom, much more than a passing fad
The self-proclaimed “largest artificial intelligence event in the world” It served as an excuse for Salesforce to present several new AI products incorporated into its CRM software (Customer Relationship Managementor Customer Relationship Management).
The opening of the convention was led by Benioff himself, who showed the new generation of his AI, “Einstein”a conversational assistant integrated into all Salesforce applications that provides “relevant and trusted answers, based on secure data” of each company and its clients.
The list of speakers ranged from multinational executives and experts in artificial intelligence to Hollywood stars like the actor Matthew McConaughey and the director Spike Lee.
The highlight of the event was Benioff’s conversation with the executive director of OpenAI, Sam Altman, who dismissed the criticism he receives ChatGPT regarding the “hallucinations”. For Altman, that an AI sometimes provides false information It is not a problem, but part of the “Magic” of these systems.
“Much of the value of these systems is strongly related to the fact that they hallucinate. They are more of a feature (characteristic) that a bug (mistake). If you want to search something in a database, there are already useful things to do it. The fact that these artificial intelligence systems can generate new ideas and be creative It’s a big part of its power,” he explained.
Another of the great debates repeated during several of the talks had to do with the impact of artificial intelligence on the labor market. For David Schmaierpresident and chief product officer of Salesforce, the world “and artificial intelligence specifically, they will continue to need humans“.
“With the advent of cell phones, online commerce and electronic payments, many said that many jobs were going to disappear. But there are still shops on the streets. Nobody does all their shopping online.. I think the same will happen with artificial intelligence. If all the accuracy, reliability, and toxicity problems of AI were solved, my answer might change. But that hasn’t happened yet,” he explained, in dialogue with Clarion.
For Schmaier, “in reality, new jobs will emerge, such as prompt engineering, which did not exist until a year ago; and there are many that we did not even imagine.”
In the same line, Guido Ipszmangeneral director of Salesforce Argentina and Peru, assured that “there is still nothing that will replace us or what we should be worried about.
“What we have to have is the ability to prepare ourselves to adapt to what is coming. It’s going to happen to each of us. We have to be smart so that the change is with us, not without,” he argued.
There are studies that support these ideas. According to the consulting firm IDC, new AI tools will make it possible to create 11 million new jobs until 2028.
Not like others themes that arose in the tech environment in recent years, such as the metaverse, NFTs or web3, the boom of artificial intelligence that skyrocketed after the launch of ChatGPT-3 seems to be much more than a passing fad.
“I think the cryptocurrency payments They will be a big topic in the future, but this (generative AI) is much more transformative, something completely different. Just look at how many people use it compared to other technologies. It’s still early, but I believe artificial intelligence is going to change the rules of the game. “The world will not be the same,” Schmaier said.
For Ipszman, meanwhile, the wave of AI “comes to add value, to challenge us all to learn new technologies.”
“I think we are seeing the beginning of an era in which artificial intelligence is going to add value to our lives and our jobs. We all have to train ourselves on the applicability of our roles and make intelligent use of artificial intelligence. But it’s with usnot without”, he closed.