ServiceNow to make AI splash; 'We need to build a billion apps,' says CEO – MarketWatch

ServiceNow Inc. is the latest technology company to go all-in on generative AI plunge, with super-charged applications for business tasks such as supply chain workflows and accounts payable.
“We are at the peak of” the AI hype cycle, ServiceNow NOW, -1.78% Chief Executive Bill McDermott said Tuesday at the company’s annual developers conference in Las Vegas. “We have entered an exponential enterprise” era of economic prosperity, fueled by data and self-service capabilities, he added.
“We have the great prioritization of enterprise systems… and we need to build a billion apps” within two years, McDermott said.
McDermott compared AI to a “lighter fluid on the bonfire of innovation” in an interview. “This is an all-time moment for enterprise computing,” he added.
In Orlando earlier, SAP SAP, -2.58% unveiled AI tools to help customers “transform their business models in the cloud, put sustainability at the center of their operations and boost agility to succeed amid ongoing change.”
“In a world of geopolitical tensions, product and skills shortages and new regulations, our customers continue turning to SAP for the solutions they need to solve their most pressing challenges,” SAP CEO Christian Klein said.
The impact of AI is being methodically assessed within NASCAR, a customer of ServiceNow that has used ChatGPT bots internally to — ironically — put together a ChatGPT strategy. The bot came up with a five-point plan.
“We’re like everyone else, trying to adapt while being risk focused,” Chris Tozier, managing director of enterprise applications for NASCAR, said in an interview. “The questions are, ‘How can I use ChatGPT, how does ServiceNow see AI and what does it mean for us?”
In the Beltway, meanwhile, a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on AI oversight Tuesday stirred sharp sound bites on the booming technology’s promise and peril. It could turbocharge the economy with operational efficiency, but at what cost to human jobs?
“If this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong,” OpenAI Chief Executive Sam Altman said while testifying.
“These are no long fantasies of science fiction; they are real,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said. “For me, the biggest nightmare is the new industrial revolution, the displacement of workers.”
Congress failed to meet the moment on corralling social media, several Senators bemoaned, and doesn’t want that to happen again with AI and its vast potential to upend society.
What has federal lawmakers spooked is the haste with which Silicon Valley and other tech hubs are furiously embracing AI, which poses security and compliance challenges — not to mention a fire hose to disinformation and civil rights abuses.
In recent weeks, Alphabet Inc.’s GOOGL, -1.86% GOOG, -1.84% Google, Meta Platforms Inc. META, -0.22%, Adobe Inc. ADBE, -0.20%, Salesforce Inc. CRM, -1.61%, IBM Corp. IBM, +0.65% and others have upped their gen-AI games, while Box Inc. BOX, -1.19% and Google Cloud lined up enterprise business partners.
“This AI inflection point still is human centered,” ServiceNow President CJ Desai said in an interview. “We want to make sure it is an augmenting of human intelligence and does not compromise security and privacy.”
“AI technologies can never replace human intelligence,” Desai said. “AI should be complementary to HI,” he said.
Says Tom Siebel, CEO of Inc. AI, -3.05% : “The rest of the world is coming to the conclusion that AI is indispensable to business practices.”
Bud Light sales were down 28.4% in the latest week, and parent Anheuser-Busch is now offering big rebates that could cut the cost of a case to under $5.
Jon Swartz is a senior reporter for MarketWatch in San Francisco, covering many of the biggest players in tech, including Netflix, Facebook and Google. Jon has covered technology for more than 20 years, and previously worked for Barron’s and USA Today. Follow him on Twitter @jswartz.
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