Nelson Mandela, Emily Pankhurst, Martin Luther King, Marc Benioff…
You’ve read that correctly.
On the snow-covered hills of Davos, Marc Benioff, the founder and CEO of the world’s most popular CRM platform Salesforce, explained to the world Artificial Intelligence (AI) should be a basic human right. The context behind the claim is sensible, as Benioff fears the dawn of a new era, where those who have AI will advance faster than those who don’t, thus exaggerating the Digital Divide.
Benioff will always be remembered as a visionary. After all, he saw a world where multichannel customer experience really mattered to businesses before anyone else. He was also way ahead when taking on some of the biggest challenges in the technology industry such as diversity and how tech firms contribute to society in a positive way.
However on Artificial Intelligence, it’s going to be a much bigger challenge for Benioff to lead, and then conquer. Today, only 55% of the world’s population has basic internet access. That surely has to be prioritised before AI as a basic human right because AI is often delivered as a cloud service. Benioff has to present and argue his purpose as to why AI should be prioritised ahead of internet access. Benioff has to go beyond his sweetspot - businesses - and convince the rest of the world of his vision.
There are great exponents of AI within businesses already, which includes Salesforce’s Einstein, as well as innovators such as BMC, Turbonomic, and Mindtree where AI has made the daily lives of IT professionals much easier. Benioff’s challenge is to communicate to the members of the global public and elaborate on real use causes where AI will advance humanity as a whole.
Benioff may one day be listed alongside the great human rights fighters in history, but unless he deeply communicates the purpose of how humanity can benefit from having Artificial Intelligence for all, it will be dismissed as a PR-stunt and Salesforce’s hurried attempt to catch up with the AI cool kids such as Google and Microsoft.
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"Today, only a few countries and only a few companies have the very best artificial intelligence in the world," Benioff said. "Those who have the artificial intelligence will be smarter, will be healthier, will be richer, and of course, you've seen their warfare will be significantly more advanced."