Meet Mai: Microsoft's Versatile AI Assistant for Tailored User Interactions

Meet Mai: Microsoft's Versatile AI Assistant for Tailored User Interactions

By Staff Writer, 19 October 2023

Microsoft has introduced an innovative digital assistant, powered by advanced generative AI technology, aiming to create a highly customizable super application.

The AI-driven bot, named Mai, features an interface reminiscent of ChatGPT and is designed to assist users in navigating tasks and accessing various services.

Naim Yazbeck, the General Manager of Microsoft UAE, revealed this development at Gitex Global in Dubai on Tuesday, highlighting that Mai can be tailored to specific verticals like healthcare and education.

The initial version of Mai showcased at the technology conference has been specifically adapted to handle inquiries related to government services, encompassing tasks such as Emirates ID renewals and driver's license applications.

An interesting feature of Mai is its avatar, which can be altered to suit different demographics. During testing and demonstrations at Gitex, Mai was presented as an Arab woman.

Microsoft is currently in early-stage discussions with both governmental bodies and private sector entities in the UAE to enhance Mai's capabilities and user interactions.

Yazbeck emphasized that Mai's present scope is primarily focused on government services, serving as a proof of concept.

However, the potential applications for Mai are vast and extend to various industries and customers.

Yazbeck expressed Microsoft's aspiration to evolve Mai into a comprehensive super app, comparable to a super Copilot capable of handling a wide array of tasks on the user's behalf.

Co-pilot, Microsoft's existing AI assistant, supports a range of applications and services, including popular desktop apps like Word and Excel.

The aim is to make it available across other services later this year.

The concept of a super app, as exemplified by prominent Middle Eastern super app Careem, offers users access to an extensive suite of services, including government permits, medical appointments, and more, all conveniently accessible through Mai.

Generative AI, popularized by ChatGPT, has ignited a race among companies and individuals aiming to leverage its potential.

Microsoft stands as a major player in this domain, being a significant supporter of ChatGPT's creator, OpenAI.

The virtual assistant landscape continues to evolve with more intelligent iterations, integrating the latest advancements in AI and machine learning.

Projections indicate substantial growth in the intelligent virtual assistant market, with an estimated value of around $46 billion by 2028, showcasing a remarkable compound annual growth rate of 33% from about $11 billion in 2023, according to data from Mordor Intelligence.

The UAE's flourishing digital ecosystem, attracting global technology players, positions it advantageously for developing cutting-edge tools like Mai.

Yazbeck emphasized the UAE's unique opportunity to lead in generative AI due to its digital readiness and advanced technological infrastructure.

Alvin R Cabral / The National

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