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Be My Eyes AI offers GPT-4-powered support for blind Microsoft customers

Be My Eyes AI offers GPT-4-powered support for blind Microsoft customers


The tech giant’s using Be My Eyes’ visual assistant tool to help blind users quickly resolve issues without a human agent.

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Illustration: The Verge

Microsoft is working on offering a better customer service experience powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT-4 for its visually impaired users through a partnership with Be My Eyes, a company that helps visually impaired individuals tackle everyday tasks with the help of sighted volunteers.

Microsoft is integrating a digital visual assistant tool Be My Eyes created — Be My AI — into its Microsoft Disability Answer Desk, allowing visually impaired Microsoft users to resolve technical issues or perform tasks like updating software without needing the assistance of a call center agent. After testing the tool earlier this year on Microsoft users, Be My Eyes said the tool resolved inquiries in four minutes on average, which is less than half the average call time with human agents. In addition, only 10 percent chose to talk to a human customer service representative after interacting with the AI tool.

Be My AI uses OpenAI’s GPT-4 vision model to generate descriptions of a photo the person has taken, like instructions for setting up a new computer or a product label. Through AI-based natural language conversations, the tool also provides contextual, advice-based guidance to help users through various issues.

“Microsoft is proud to be the first company to integrate Be My AI into our customer service with the Disability Answer Desk. The integration of Be My AI creates an innovative, fast and efficient way for disabled customers to receive assistance from Microsoft,” said Jenny Lay-Flurrie, Microsoft’s chief accessibility officer. “By combining Microsoft’s expertise and the innovative solutions from Be My AI™, we are empowering independence for people with disabilities.”

Bloomberg reports Be My Eyes CEO Mike Buckley said it’s also beta-testing its AI tool with other corporations, including Sony, Procter & Gamble, and Hilton.

The news comes a week after OpenAI held its first developer conference. The company revealed it now boasts more than 2 million developers, with 92 percent being Fortune 500 companies. The company also introduced a number of new features, like a no-code tool for building custom versions of ChatGPT.

Be My Eyes was also briefly mentioned. “OpenAI is proud to work with Be My Eyes,” said Brad Lightcap, the COO of OpenAI. “They’ve used our AI models to significantly enhance the daily lives of people with low vision or blindness.”

Microsoft’s partnership with Be My Eyes is the company’s latest move toward making its products more accessible. Earlier this year at its annual Microsoft Ability Summit, the company introduced “Accessibility Assistant” for Microsoft 365, which lets you know in real time when you’re writing up inaccessible content.