Salesforce has reorganized its Office of Ethical and Humane Use of Technology and wants to empower the unit to have greater influence in the design of new products. The office, which was established in 2018, is tasked with ensuring that Salesforce's technology is developed and used in a responsible manner. It's an increasing focus for organizations that are trying to side-step public backlash. But it's also an acknowledgement that the rise of advanced technology like AI, as well as engagement with certain customers, warrants a more robust system of checks and balances. Salesforce, for example, has faced pressure over the work it does with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Salesforce placed the Office of Ethical and Humane Use under then-Chief Equality Officer Tony Prophet when it was first created. Over the past two years, the Office of Ethical and Humane Use has grown alongside the company, spanning across policy and product. To deepen this work, the Office of Ethical and Humane Use has moved into the Product organization, where it will continue to span both policy and product.
While other companies have mimicked Salesforce's strategy and propped up similar offices, it remains an open question just how much influence the cohorts have, including the ability to extract deeper, more foundational change, like cutting down on the widespread use of customer data. But Salesforce's decision to move the office to sit within the product unit suggests it is poised to have a greater say in the creation of new offerings.
Some of the Office of Ethical and Humane Use's early victories include "elevating inclusive product language, building privacy safeguards for our vaccine management solutions and launching mechanisms to flag potential bias in data for customers”.
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