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Salesforce today released a suite of tools for its product developers with artificial intelligence features that, among other things, recognize sarcasm in an email and understand that it is a product complaint.

Richard Soucher, Salesforce's chief scientist, tells Axios that the new tools, part of the company's Einstein platform, will allow clients, without having to write their own AI code, to build out products with a greater ability to read the sentiment in an email, and route it to the right place. A company — such as an airline — could understand much more quickly that passengers are angry on Twitter, and generally why. Customers often use nuanced expressions to convey their unhappiness — such as sarcasm — and the tool is meant to understand such indirect speech.

Another tool will identify individual objects in a photograph, understanding precisely what is on a store shelf and how many containers of a product are still there. Soucher announced the tools at the O'Reilly Artificial Intelligence Conference, held in New York.

Bottom line: With this release, Salesforce pushes more AI-powered capability into commercial products. It injects a more advanced, off-the-shelf quality into the still-mysterious AI space, suggesting a wider buildout of AI into everyday commerce.

Jaime Carbonnell, director of the Languages Technologies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, said the new Salesforce capabilities do not advance the field. It is "old tried-and-true technology being applied (probably in a very reasonable way) to relevant problems," he told Axios.

However, Martial Hebert, director of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon, said the suite does go some way toward democratizing AI — producing "a developer's kit [and] making this accessible to all, not just the experts."

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North Carolina police pepper-spray protesters marching to the polls

Officers in North Carolina used pepper spray on protesters and arrested eight people at a get-out-the-vote rally at Alamance County’s courthouse Saturday during the final day of early voting, the City of Graham Police Department confirmed.

Driving the news: The peaceful "I Am Change" march to the polls was organized by Rev. Greg Drumwright, from the Citadel Church in Greensboro, N.C., and included a minute's silence for George Floyd. Melanie Mitchell told the News & Observer her daughters, age 5 and 11, were among those pepper-sprayed by police soon after.

7 hours ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.