Sezzle - FInTech Tracker - September 2023

Microsoft Debuts AI-Powered Service For Blind Customers


Microsoft is set to begin offering AI-powered customer service for visually impaired users.

As Bloomberg News reported Wednesday (Nov. 15), the company is working with Be My Eyes, an app for blind or low-vision people that uses OpenAI’s ChatGPT-4 model to offer up a description of a photo the person has taken.

Microsoft is integrating Be My Eyes artificial intelligence (AI) technology into its Microsoft Disability Answer Desk, which handles customer service calls, Be My Eyes told Bloomberg.

The partnership lets Microsoft customers who are blind or have trouble seeing deal with hardware issuers or do things like install new software without needing human assistance.

Be My Eyes, which piloted the AI-powered visual customer service tool with Microsoft users earlier this year, told Bloomberg that just 10% of people interacting with the AI chose to follow up with a human agent. 

In addition, the company said inquiries were resolved faster. Users spent an average of four minutes on a call with the AI, and 12 minutes with a human customer service worker.

The news came the same day that Microsoft introduced new innovations for Microsoft Copilot, its AI assistant designed to enhance productivity and creativity in work and personal life.

“One of the new enhancements to Copilot is its ability to personalize the user experience, according to the post,” PYMNTS wrote. “Users can provide details about their role and preferences, allowing Copilot to deliver tailored responses and assistance. This personalization feature is currently available in Word and PowerPoint and will soon be extended to other Microsoft 365 apps.”

Meanwhile, recent PYMNTS Intelligence data found that there are major differences across gender, generational and income levels when it comes to familiarity with the term “AI.”

For example, a larger percentage of men — 46% — reported that they think of themselves as very or extremely familiar with AI compared to 33% of women. By the same token, although the margin is smaller, a higher percentage of men (35%) than women (about 31%) say that AI plays a significant role in their daily personal activities.

That’s according to “AI-Enabled Payments Enhance Customer Options,” a report by PYMNTS Intelligence and ACI Worldwide. 

Among the other findings in the study include the fact that familiarity with AI aligns with generational trends in terms of embracing new technology. Younger age groups are more open and familiar with AI compared to their older counterparts, with the study showing that 65% of Generation Z consumers were very or extremely familiar with the technology.

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