Matthew McConaughey is still Salesforce’s AI cowboy?

The cloud software giant continues to flaunt its partnership with the actor even after criticism from staffers.Image for article titled Matthew McConaughey is still Salesforce's AI cowboy

Graphic: Laura Bratton (Canva), Photos: Kevin C. Cox, Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)Salesforce officially released its AI chatbot Einstein Copilot at its World Tour NYC event in Manhattan on Thursday. Per usual, the company flashed its AI partnership with none other than Hollywood’s early 2000s golden boy, Matthew McConaughey.

McConaughey has been featured in several Salesforce ads about AI, and his reported $10 million yearly deal with the cloud software giant came under scrutiny last year from employees, who criticized their employer for paying the celebrity big bucks at the same time it laid off 10% of its workforce. But remorse from Salesforce, if any, is long gone, and Clara Shih, the CEO of Salesforce AI, proudly introduced “my colleague, Matthew” before playing a rerun of a 2023 McConaughey ad during her keynote address Thursday.

The ad is only 30 seconds long, and McConaughey doesn’t say much. “If AI is the Wild West, does that make data the new gold?” he asks the camera, donning a 19th century-looking suit and cowboy-esque hat.

The actor’s support of Salesforce AI represents a rare instance of a celebrity blatantly endorsing generative artificial intelligence. Actors and musicians alike have so far mostly expressed fury or, at the very least, skepticism of AI’s potential impact on creative industries.

To be sure, Salesforce’s generative AI isn’t the consumer facing kind of chatbot that users can leverage to generate deepfakes of Taylor Swift. It’s used, instead, for company salespeople to create ad campaigns, write emails, and other actions based on their own data.

And McConaughey’s partnership with Salesforce is more about the company itself than his faith in generative AI. McConaughey is reportedly friends with the company’s CEO, Marc Benioff, and helped create and star in its 2015 and 2022 Super Bowl advertisements.

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