The Salesforce AI research team has just expanded to launch our first hub outside Palo Alto, in Singapore – a natural choice with its diversity of talent and its world-class universities.

The Salesforce Research Asia team will be helmed by Dr Steven Hoi, who joins us from Singapore Management University where he was Associate Professor in the School of Information Systems.

We’ll be working with local world-class universities to develop AI talent and the AI ecosystem in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, partnering to train up to 100 postgraduate students over the next three years in AI, deep learning, machine learning, natural language processing and more. And as we’re growing and developing the ecosystem of AI researchers in Asia, we’ll be tapping into the wealth of experience in these universities and the innovation of these students.

We know APAC is a hub for technological innovation – our recent research found that 78% of Asian companies, and 84% in Singapore, find AI appealing – and that the Singapore government is focused on developing AI talent for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

 


 

“Increasingly, we are establishing our foothold for AI talent in this region as we gear towards Industry 4.0, underpinned by incredible innovation and growth,” Minister S. Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, said of the partnership. “I welcome Salesforce and its commitment to develop and drive the growth of AI talent in Singapore and around the region.”

 

Innovation that drives productivity

 

Our collaboration will also expand our mission of bringing state-of-the-art AI to the enterprise – driving global breakthroughs in AI research and ultimately delivering more innovative solutions for our customers.

We know AI is going to increase productivity – IDC predicts a total $1.1 trillion revenue boost as a result of AI associated with CRM, while Australian businesses can anticipate a $29 billion bottom-line boost in the five years to 2021.

To ensure our customers are best-placed to take advantage of developments and their productivity boosts, Salesforce Research Asia will focus on AI, machine learning, deep learning, speech recognition, big data, data mining and business analytics.

We’re also pushing the state-of-the-art in visual image description, visual question answering and visual object detection. And we’re still working on natural language processing (NLP).

For years, deep learning for NLP hasn’t been taken seriously, viewed instead as an outdated concept from the ’90s – it was an uphill battle to get papers placed at conferences.

But it is truly the most exciting research field at the moment. That same IDC research I mentioned above found that of the companies that planned to adopt AI within two years, 30% were focused on voice and speech recognition.

We’ve already published multiple papers on NLP and machine learning with the goal of building a unified approach to language understanding, and we’ve made incredible strides to advance the state of the art in NLP — from advancements in text summarisation to insights on building more efficient natural language interfaces.

This research will drive entirely new ways of interacting with computers, allowing machines to better understand natural language and make interactions more intuitive – and it’s now a global effort.

 

Advancing AI research

 

The Salesforce Research team is committed to advancing AI research to bring new levels of knowledge and productivity to everyone. We’re advancing AI and CRM with a human-first approach, working hand-in-hand with engineering and product teams in order to bring cutting-edge technology to Salesforce customers.

I am thrilled to expand our mission of bringing state-of-the-art AI to enterprises, and of producing AI breakthroughs that are trusted and ethical, made specifically for business apps and seamlessly integrated into Salesforce. I look forward to sharing the breakthroughs to come from Salesforce Research Asia.

Richard Socher is Chief Scientist at Salesforce. He leads the company’s research efforts and works on bringing state of the art AI solutions to Salesforce. Read more from Richard Socher.

 Find out more about Salesforce’s AI Research.