Salesforce chief scientist Richard Socher leaves to start his own company

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Richard Socher today announced that he’s leaving his position as chief scientist at Salesforce to create his own startup company. During four years as chief scientist, Socher oversaw research and development initiatives as well as the rise of Einstein cloud AI services for use cases like computer vision, natural language models, translation, and personalized CRM search results.

Socher came to Salesforce following the acquisition of MetaMind in 2016, a company he founded and led as CEO. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. MetaMind is one of a number of startups to spin out of the ImageNet competition for large-scale computer vision models, which took place from 2010 to 2017. As a Ph.D. student at Stanford University, Socher helped create the ImageNet data set.

Salesforce Research was created in 2016 shortly after the acquisition, and since then it has produced work like the AI Economist, a reinforcement learning environment for generating tax policy, and a method for removing gender bias from AI models.

Socher said in a tweet he will retain a role as an advisor to Salesforce.

A statement provided to VentureBeat by a Salesforce spokesperson about his departure calls Socher “instrumental in starting Salesforce on its AI journey.” The spokesperson provided no additional details about when Socher will leave the company or who the company will name as its next chief scientist.

Socher is scheduled to deliver a fireside chat about advances in NLP and other forms of AI later this week at VentureBeat’s Transform conference.

Updated at 3:28 p.m. with response from a Salesforce spokesperson.

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