Microsoft Offering Virtual Technical Support for Blind Customers via ChatGPT


On Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Microsoft’s Chief Accessibility Officer Jenny Lay-Flurrie published a blog post about the potential of generative AI to deliver a new paradigm in technical support for blind users. Microsoft has partnered with BeMyEyes since 2018 to provide visual interpretation services to visually-impaired customers. This includes helping troubleshoot technical problems such as laptop restarts and software updates. Taking this concept one step further, the tech giant is now using OpenAI’s advanced chatbot ChatGPT 4 to further streamline the technical support process for blind customers.

Known as Virtual Volunteer, ChatGPT uses AI to enable users to send in images through the BeMyEyes app and quickly receive answers and advice. The sophisticated AI can understand objects and text while maintaining a back-and-forth dialogue. It can even detect what hardware specifications certain software needs and help optimize user setups. Microsoft has enlisted the help of other major companies like Hilton, P&G, Sony, and The National Federation of the Blind to beta test the program.

While blind individuals may not be used to relying on AI instead of direct human help, there are many advantages to this method. Using an automated system often results in a greater sense of independence over traditional services that depend on outside help. Furthermore, ChatGPT has been developed with Microsoft’s Responsible AI principles in mind, giving users a seamless experience with a focus on accessibility and representation.

As a behemoth of the tech industry, Microsoft is always pushing the boundaries of technological advancement. The use of generative AI to provide technical support to blind customers is a measure of the company’s commitment to inclusivity and accessibility. With the help of ChatGPT, Microsoft is creating an innovative and reliable way for blind customers to receive the technical support they need without being overly dependent on external influences.

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