Salesforce modestly names its new AI initiative Einstein

Salesforce has announced the introduction of artificial intelligence to its CRM solutions, and it hasn’t been afraid to set expectations high by calling it Einstein.

The new offering leans on the machine learning, predictive analytics and natural language processing components of artificial intelligence. Salesforce claims it will learn, self-tune and get smarter with every interaction and additional piece of data. What it won’t do, presumably, is redefine any of the quantum, particle, photon or relativity theories. Or have a crazy haircut.

“For many companies, the technical expertise, infrastructure and other resources required to deliver AI solutions is too significant to leverage in their enterprise applications,” said Jim Sinai VP of Marketing at SalesforceIQ. “But in keeping with Albert Einstein’s dictum that the definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple, Salesforce Einstein is removing the complexity of AI, enabling any company to deliver smarter, personalized and more predictive customer experiences.

“Powered by advanced machine learning, deep learning, predictive analytics, natural language processing and smart data discovery, Einstein’s models will be automatically customized for every single customer, and it will learn, self-tune, and get smarter with every interaction and additional piece of data.” Or so the theory goes.

Salesforce intends to give pretty much all its products a dose of Einstein. It promises to make marketing campaigns more targeted, IoT devices self-healing and the sales team will become smarter, more proactive and efficiency will be increased. Sounds brilliant, but what if there is something more sinister at hand…

Fast forward to 2175 and the salesman no longer exists. Salesforce Einstein has become so effective at understanding the needs of customers, and recommending appropriate actions, the salesman has become irrelevant. Companies across the UK make mass redundancies and the streets of London are littered with starving salesmen.

Driven by despair, the salesmen revolt against the government which has done nothing to support their plight, and replace the under-pressure Prime Minister with Salesforce Einstein. It’s over; artificial intelligence now has control of the UK and Arnold Schwarzenegger is strolling along Fleet Street without a care in the world.

The success of the product is almost entirely reliant on the amount of data the system is fed, and the number of interactions that happen on a day-to-day basis. In a previous life, your correspondent worked as a Sales Executive and worked with CRM systems every day. It’s common knowledge salesmen don’t care a great deal about using all the features of a CRM system which may dent the effectiveness of an artificial intelligence proposition in a sales capacity. After talking to the marketing team, they appear to be more effective at making use of all available features however.

Salesforce is claiming to have cracked the equation for mass market AI, but then it would. Starting with the name, the company is positioning this product as if it’s, like, totally, the biggest thing ever. Bitter experience indicates the reality is likely to be somewhat more mundane and it will be interesting to see if EMC has anything to say about Salesforce jumping on the Einstein bandwagon.

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