Data Cloud was a real focus for this year’s Salesforce World Tour. And the particular focus on responsible data management and AI really stood out to me.

Firstly, what is Data Cloud? In layman’s terms it is a customer data platform, it allows you to create a single ID for a customer or potential customer and attach any data from all areas of your business to that customer. This data can then be used for analytics, targeted multi channel Marketing and AI. 

Like many I don’t feel completely comfortable with the idea of AI being let loose in a data candy store that includes a lot of my information. So when the emphasis on responsible data management and AI was made at World Tour, it made me feel a lot more reassured. (These goals are also documented within Salesforce’s Trusted AI Principles to develop & use AI safely, accurately, & ethically).

An example of when I don’t feel comfortable with the reach of AI technology, is after I’ve had a conversation and then notice adverts on social media relating to that conversation. To check if it was just a coincidence, I decided to put it to the test and had a conversation about plastic coat hangers (the most random / boring topic I could think of). I knew we had not searched for this online, but a short while later an advert appeared on social media for a pack of three, plastic, grey coat hangers. 

That fact my conversation was very likely picked up by an AI voice activated device, which then generated content to make me take a desired action, I found very disconcerting. Perhaps I did need coat hangers, and a genuine marketing service was being performed; but what else could my private conversations be used for?

On the flip side though, I am astonished that in this technological age, you can go into A&E, give them your details, and the Doctor has no access to information about you. They are unable to check which medicine you are on, allergies, pre-existing conditions etc. 

Westbrook’s focus at the moment is very much on upskilling and expanding our Data cloud team; to help organisations better connect their data in a way that is both ethical and useful to the customer. Salesforce’s focus on ethical, responsible and trustworthy use of data and AI has removed my doubt and I am now even more positive about this expanding area.

I now feel even more excited about responsible AI and trusted data management. Not just in healthcare, but also in the following situations:

* Being provided with a more useful customer experience when calling a customer services desk. The service agent instantly knows my situation and can help me out. 

* If I go into a showroom, the sales person could have a handheld device where they can pull up my information, see what I’ve viewed online, take me to the product, and automatically have the product details to hand. 

* Having much more useful guidance available from a chat bot when buying online or filling a complex an online form.

Data Cloud and AI can give Sales, Marketing and Customer Service staff teams the tools to do their jobs well. That is how I now see the future use of responsible AI and Data Management and using  applications like Data Cloud: not a creepy and instructive experience, but making a sales/service process useful, positive and less frustrating. And as long as other data management applications take an ethical approach like Data Cloud, then I personally don’t think I will be worried.