Today we are thrilled to announce that Be My AI™ is officially entering an open beta phase for all Android users and, starting from December 4th , it will be available for hundreds of thousands of Be My Eyes users worldwide. Be My AI uses the Open AI GPT-4 engine to provide detailed descriptions of photos from your camera or on the internet. In its initial month of availability on IOS, Be My AI users received several million descriptions using our new system and the feedback has been incredible. We’ll start releasing Be My AI to all our existing Android users this week. The full roll-out will take a few days, so be sure to keep your app updated so you will have access to Be My AI as soon as it is available to you.
With the announcement of the Be My AI beta on Android, Be My Eyes wants to spread the era of free and independent access to visual information to more of the world’s 285 million blind people, many of whom can’t afford to purchase an IOS smartphone whose prices can exceed $1,000. In the global south, where the majority of blind people live, prices for Android smartphones are often much cheaper, below $200, and many can be found in the secondary used market for $100 or less. For connecting remotely to Be My eyes volunteers and AI description these phones are completely adequate.
“We want to be responsive to the blind community in the global south,” said Be My eyes CEO Mike Buckley, “They have long asked for us to deploy an Android version of our Be My AI feature, and we’ve responded.”
In North America and Europe, where Be My Eyes got its start, IOS phones have a sizable market share. But worldwide something like ¾ of all smartphones now run on the Android operating system. To reach more of the world’s blind, Be My eyes has now released its new feature Be My AI in its Android app, released to the world starting December 4th in an open beta form.
In upcoming weeks the new Android app will soon include another much-requested feature, the ability to create personalized trusted circles of friends or family.
“Blind people around the world are diverse,” said Be My Eyes Vice-chair Bryan Bashin, who is blind. “We will want to choose our own hardware, select volunteer or AI description, and later form our own circles of friends to give us remote descriptions. Nothing could be better than creating another powerful tool for our toolbox.”
Using Be My AI on your Android device is quick and simple. Once you have access, open the Be My Eyes app, click on the ‘Be My AI’ tab, and take a picture. Be My AI will give you a detailed description about it, and you can chat and ask Be My AI further questions to get more information.
And don’t worry - if Be My AI can’t answer all your questions, if you want to check its results, or if you just need a little more description than Be My AI can provide or crave the magic and humanity of working with people, you still can easily reach one of our dedicated volunteers, just like before. They will always be there, in 150 languages all across the globe.
If you want to learn more about Be My AI and how to use it at its best, we have collected the most common questions (and answers!) in our Help Center. Make sure to check them out!
You can use Be My AI 24/7 in all those situations when you want quick visual assistance without necessarily calling a human volunteer. Be My AI is perfect for all those circumstances when you want a quick solution or you don’t feel like talking to another person to get visual assistance. You may be amazed that Be My AI knows more than just what’s in the photo – just ask for more context and discover what it can tell you.
Be My AI also will give deaf-blind users a new way to get information if they use, for example, a braille display. Be My AI's written responses are user-selectable in 36 languages.
For all of its advantages, though, Be My AI does not and should not replace a white cane, guide dog, or other mobility aid that provides for safe travel.
“Open beta” status just means we are opening up Be My AI to all our Android users while we continue developing it and making it better based on your feedback. AI image recognition is complicated, and AI in general is still a rapidly evolving technology just in its infancy. Be My Eyes - and OpenAI - are constantly learning how to improve it.
There will be hiccups. Things may break. You may still get hallucinations, occasional wrong answers, and experience some frustrations. But we will be here to fix the breaks and keep making things better. So please be patient, and keep telling us about your experiences, positive and negative, so we can make this the best possible tool for you.