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More working Singaporeans excited about generative AI than worried: Salesforce

Corporations need to empower the workforce to know how to utilise the technology properly.

The majority of Singaporean working adults are more excited about generative artificial intelligence (AI) than worried about the technology replacing their jobs, according to a survey conducted by the global cloud giant Salesforce about AI digital skills in the workplace.

Of the 1,001 workers surveyed in Singapore, 72% expressed excitement towards using it at work, while 51% cited worries about job replacement. Meanwhile, 98% of respondents said they want their businesses to prioritise AI skills in their employee development strategy.

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This survey comes at a time when Salesforce announced a range of AI innovations across its portfolio of automation tools. These include Einstein GPT and data cloud for Flow, Slack GPT, Tableau GPT and Tableau Pulse. Einstein GPT is currently available for customers in a closed pilot, whereas Tableau GPT will be available in pilot later this year, and Slack GPT is in development.

These AI innovations will allow Salesforce’s customers to automate complex workflows, tap into secure customer insights from the cloud, and better understand and interact with their data.

Speaking at a media briefing at Salesforce’s annual industry networking and customer event on May 11, Sujith Abraham, senior vice president and GM, ASEAN, Salesforce, says that the decision to integrate generative AI into their products allows clients to get more intimate with their customers.

Abraham was joined by Terence Chia, cluster director for the digital industry and talent group at the Infocomm & Media Development Authority (IMDA), and Assoc Prof Damien Joseph, Associate Dean, Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University.

Each panellist described the impact of generative AI within their respective fields — government, corporates and educational institutions, with a sentiment that accepting generative AI will bring about more benefits than resisting it.

“We can’t predict where technology is going, but some fundamental principles we can work on, such as how do we ask the right questions with generative AI,” says Joseph, who observes that students in his faculty have already begun to learn about generative AI on their own through utilising chatGPT.

When asked about the erosion of skill sets in the workplace by generative AI, Joseph adds that the masses “should not be hung up about it”. “What’s important is how to keep up,” he says.

Abraham echoes this sentiment, adding that the role corporations play is an important one in empowering the workforce to know how to utilise the technology properly.

“It’s not just about the code, it’s contextual,” says Abraham.

Salesforce’s foray into generative AI is the latest of companies integrating the technology into its products. In recent cases, the use of generative AI, namely OpenAI’s ChatGPT has prompted data privacy concerns in firms such as JP Morgan, Amazon, Accenture and more, who fear that the tool could steal sensitive banking secrets.

Meanwhile, governing bodies around the world have begun debating regulatory frameworks for the usage of such technologies.

Abraham highlights that the usage of generative AI may spark some questions about ethics and privacy, but ensures that these are “important areas” that Salesforce is looking at. The organisation abides by five sets of principles in implementing generative AI into their products, namely accuracy, safety, honesty, sustainability and empowerment.

“We look to build tools like sandboxes so they can constantly test and ensure there aren’t any sensitive information that shouldn’t be out there,” he says.

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