Working with a local advocacy group at a research lab in India, Microsoft has developed a prototype of a system that would connect illiterate domestic workers in India with families seeking their services. The system uses pictures, video and voice commands to tell women what jobs are available, how much the jobs pay and where they are.
The Associated Press reports in The New York Times that the goal is to help the women see how technology can make finding work more efficient, as the first step toward creating broader tools to help illiterate people benefit from technological advances. The software was on display as part of Microsoft Research TechFest, an annual gathering of employees from the company's various research and development centres. The researchers, located in China, India, England and the United States, provide the company with a mix of far-flung technology and more practical applications. Researchers on the Indian project say they have had to overcome their preconceptions about how the technology should work, and why people would want to use it.