Salesforce CEO on AI: Your Data Is Not Our Product

At Dreamforce 2023 in San Francisco, Benioff took time away from promoting new features to discuss the future of AI tech.

The head of the world’s most popular CRM is encouraging a new approach to AI, with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff calling for trust and transparency when it comes to the new technology.

The evolution of AI technology over the last year has been nothing if not substantial. ChatGPT released in November 2022, and since then, virtually every business software provider has added generative AI features and functionality to their platforms.

Salesforce is, of course, one of those business software providers, but the company appears to be more committed to an ethical roll-out of AI technology than the rest of the tech industry.

Benioff: The AI Revolution Is a Trust Revolution

At the Dreamforce 2023 conference in San Francisco, Salesforce announced a wide range of new features that are aimed at helping businesses grow. Naturally, many of them employ AI technology like ChatGPT to provide predictive answers and automated actions aimed at saving time and money for growing enterprises.

However, during the keynote speech, CEO Marc Benioff took time away from promoting these new features and instead focused on the ethical aspects of the burgeoning technology, noting that the next level of AI development requires one particular feature: trust.

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“The AI revolution is a trust revolution. Your data is not our product.” – Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce

The keynote speech pointed to the growing concerns about generative AI technology and how it will mesh with the business world and the global economy at large.

The Problem With Current AI Models

What did Benioff mean when he said that “your data isn’t our product” in his keynote speech? While it may seem like a shot at social media companies that offer free services in exchange for unfettered access to your personal data, it actually refers to generative AI services that seemingly collect endless sets of data from across the web to fuel their platforms.

“The data they get, they mostly have stolen. They just go out onto the net and get whatever they can get.” – Benioff

That’s one of the major problems with platforms like ChatGPT. They aren’t necessarily “generating” anything; instead, they’re collecting data from existing content and rejigging it into new content that fits your particular needs. And worse, it doesn’t even get it right some of the time.

“You get a lot of answers that aren’t exactly true. They call them hallucinations. I call them lies.” – Benioff

All that to say, this groundbreaking technology that is poised to transform the business world is still very much in its early stages. And as Benioff points out, if we aren’t careful, things could go south fast.

The Future of AI

While futuristic sci-fi movies like Terminator and Minority Report are obviously works for fiction, Benioff alluded to the popular films, noting in his speech that AI technology has the potential to make the world a worse place if not regulated in an effective and proactive manner.

“We all know and have in our mind what could happen if this AI thing goes really wrong. Let’s keep it going in the right direction.”

Benioff looks to position Salesforce as a protective layer between businesses that want to experiment with AI and those potential negative outcomes. Whether the world’s most popular CRM is up for the task, though, still remains to be seen.

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Written by:
Conor is the Lead Writer for For the last six years, he’s covered everything from tech news and product reviews to digital marketing trends and business tech innovations. He's written guest posts for the likes of Forbes, Chase, WeWork, and many others, covering tech trends, business resources, and everything in between. He's also participated in events for SXSW, Tech in Motion, and General Assembly, to name a few. He also cannot pronounce the word "colloquially" correctly. You can email Conor at
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