Microsoft to Offer AI-Powered Customer Service For Blind Users
Microsoft Corp. is teaming up with Be My Eyes, an app for the blind and visually impaired, to make it easier for such people to access the company’s customer service.
Microsoft Corp. is teaming up with Be My Eyes, an app for the blind and visually impaired, to make it easier for such people to access the company's customer service.
Founded in 2015, Be My Eyes connects the visually impaired with sighted volunteers who can help them tackle tasks that otherwise might be impossible to accomplish. The startup also has an artificial intelligence tool called Be My AI, which uses OpenAI's ChatGPT-4 model to generate a description of a photo the person has taken — be it a product label or produce at a store.
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The Redmond, Washington-based software giant will integrate Be My AI technology into its Microsoft Disability Answer Desk, which handles customer service calls, Be My Eyes said in a statement Wednesday. The collaboration will let users of Microsoft products who are blind or visually impaired resolve hardware issues or navigate such tasks as installing a new version of Windows software or describing a PowerPoint presentation — all without human assistance.
Be My Eyes' use of OpenAI's GPT-4 was lauded by Sam Altman at the startup's developers conference this month as an example of how his company's language model can use images as inputs and yield responses in natural language.
“OpenAI is proud to work with Be My Eyes. They've used our AI models to significantly enhance the daily lives of people with low vision or blindness,” Brad Lightcap, OpenAI's chief operating officer, said in a statement.
Be My Eyes, which tested the AI-powered visual customer service with Microsoft users earlier this year, found that only 10% of people interacting with the AI chose to escalate to a human agent. The company also said that inquiries were resolved faster with the Be My AI tool, with users spending four minutes, on average, on a call with the AI, versus 12 minutes with a human.
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