AI Now Mirrors 1988 Internet: Salesforce AI CEO

The development of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms today can be likened to the early stages of the Internet, says Clara Shih, the CEO of Salesforce AI. She draws a parallel between the current state of AI and the internet’s infancy around 1988. Speaking at the Viva Tech Paris 2024 panel, Shih remarked, “Today is like 1988 for AI… The first wave [of AI] automates mundane and repetitive tasks… When the technology becomes mature, we will invent new business models.” Her statements imply that society might be on the verge of a major breakthrough in AI, akin to the internet’s significant evolution after 1988 when the World Wide Web was still a year away from its invention.

Before the advent of the World Wide Web, the internet was a primitive network with only about 60,000 users, primarily connected through universities and government institutions. It was in 1988 that the internet began to expand internationally, connecting countries like Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden to the National Science Foundation Network. This period marked the beginning of the internet’s global accessibility, setting the stage for its explosive growth in the subsequent years.

Shih draws a comparison between the initial impact of the internet on job roles and the current influence of AI on the workforce. There has been growing concern among working-class professionals about AI potentially leading to a dystopian future, where machines render human labor obsolete. Shih emphasizes that AI, much like the internet, is updating existing job roles rather than replacing them entirely. She mentions, “With the Internet, some jobs were replaced… but across the board, people needed new job descriptions. And we’re living that now [with artificial intelligence].”

The transformation Shih anticipates is similar to the early 2000s when professionals had to adapt to utilizing the internet and the then-novel Google search engine to enhance their job effectiveness. Google, an indispensable part of our daily lives today, was launched in September 1998, fundamentally changing the landscape of information access and professional work practices.

Shih’s outlook is shared by others in the industry, including the AI division of Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH). This luxury conglomerate also sees AI as a tool to complement, rather than replace, human workers. Axel de Goursac, the director of AI Factory at LVMH, stated, “We don’t want to replace but augment humans with artificial intelligence.”

The narrative surrounding AI seems to be moving away from one of fear and replacement towards a more collaborative future where humans and AI work in tandem. This collaboration aims to elevate human capabilities, much like how the internet once did by opening up vast reservoirs of information and new ways of working.

Both Shih and de Goursac suggest that AI’s true potential lies in its ability to automate routine tasks, thereby freeing up humans to engage in more creative, complex, and meaningful work. This not only fosters innovation but also creates a more dynamic and adaptable workforce.

As AI continues to advance, the emphasis will likely shift towards inventing entirely new business models and opportunities for growth, ushering in an era of unparalleled technological and societal transformation. In this scenario, both companies and employees will need to continuously evolve, acquiring new skills and rethinking traditional job roles to fully harness the benefits of AI.

15 thoughts on “AI Now Mirrors 1988 Internet: Salesforce AI CEO

  1. Clara Shih makes a valid point! AI can absolutely enhance and elevate our capabilities, similar to the early internet.

  2. Nice PR spin, but the reality is AI is leading to more job insecurity than innovation for most workers. Let’s be honest about it.

  3. Insightful speech by Clara Shih! It’s inspiring to think about AI’s future role in transforming our work, just as the internet did.

  4. Shih’s comments seem overly optimistic. AI is already causing job displacement and stress for many workers. This isn’t just ‘updating job roles.’ It’s more than that.

  5. AI augmenting humans? Sounds like a corporate excuse to replace human labor with machines gradually. Not buying it.

  6. Inspirational thoughts by Clara Shih! The AI industry has immense potential to change our lives positively.

  7. AI like the early internet? Please. The implications of AI on society today are far more complex and potentially harmful. Oversimplification much?

  8. Clara nailed it! AI is like the internet in the ’80s, full of untapped potential. Can’t wait for the breakthroughs! ⚡️🌍

  9. This is the kind of narrative we need around AI! It’s about complementing us, not replacing us. Thanks Clara Shih! 🌟🤝

  10. Her optimism is contagious! Clara Shih comparing AI to early internet days is making me hopeful for an incredible future.

  11. This AI hype sounds a lot like wishful thinking. Technology isn’t always the panacea it’s made out to be. Many nuances are being overlooked.

  12. Great analogy from Clara Shih, comparing AI to the early days of the internet. We are at the cusp of another technological revolution!

  13. AI taking over mundane tasks? It might as well take over everything. How about the jobs that require human creativity and empathy? The narrative sounds too hopeful.

  14. Clara Shih’s perspective on AI is refreshing! It reinforces the idea of co-evolution with technology, just like the early internet days. 💥🤖

  15. Positive vibes all around! AI is here to make our lives easier, not take away our jobs. Glad to see this perspective. 🌟🤩

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