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Uncertainty casts cloud over Dreamforce in San Francisco

The future of technology is expected to take center stage starting Tuesday as Dreamforce, the annual convention held by Salesforce, launches in San Francisco in what is being dubbed the biggest AI event in the world.

But many may be wondering about the future of the conference itself in San Francisco after Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff said in a recent interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, “If this Dreamforce is impacted by the current situation with homelessness and drug use, it may be the last Dreamforce in the city.”

So there’s a lot riding on how smoothly this year’s three-day conference goes. Heavier traffic around the downtown area is a given, but that brings with it significant business for the surrounding area and the city.

Outside political groups and the national media are keeping close watch on how smooth the three-day event goes this week. One of those groups, the newly formed We San Francisco, is working to recruit community members ready for change.

“The idea is a community-led movement,” said Ben Kaplan of We San Francisco. “If you were here in 2017, the city was bustling, it was booming and maybe you didn’t have to get involved. But all of the people I’ve talked to now who weren’t engaged in the city, weren’t involved in politics, now are like, ‘We have to get involved.’ This is unacceptable, the current state of public safety, civic disorder, government accountability.”

The conference itself is expected to highlight artificial intelligence and its impact on different areas of business and daily life. Among the featured speakers at this year’s conference are Open AI CEO Sam Altman, experts from Stanford University’s Institute of Human Centered AI, humanitarian Dr. Jane Goodall and Hollywood celebrities Matthew McConaughey, Viola Davis and Spike Lee.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed also will make a speaker appearance during the conference.

Benioff will kick things off Tuesday with the keynote address. On Wednesday night, Foo Fighters will headline the Dreamforce concert at Chase Center.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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