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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."

Go deeper

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

10 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

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  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.