Got a letter from the government? This AI app makes it easy to read

Letters from the government, for example, can sometimes be complicated and overwhelming. The LeesSimpel app uses AI to put the important points together in simple language.

Artificial intelligence may be threatening according to experts, but AI can also be incredibly useful. The Dutch app LeesSimpel proves that. With the app you take a picture of a complicated text and AI makes the text easier to read.

The app is primarily intended for, for example, complicated letters from the government, such as the Tax and Customs Administration. There has been for years criticism to such letters, as a result of which a large part of the population does not understand communication and risks fines, for example.

LeesSimpel uses OpenAI’s artificial intelligence to extract the key points from the letter: who is the sender and what does it say? The most important information is put together briefly and concisely, marked with emoji.

That does indeed work with complicated letters, but also with the box of a frozen pizza, for example. There is the preparation in all kinds of languages ​​in small print: LeesSimpel only gets out what you need.

This is how LeesSimpel summarizes the back of this book.

Made by five Dutchmen

LeesSimpel was created by Hester Benedictus, Erwin Russel, Lucas Meijer, Niels Hoogendoorn and Tycho Litjens. “At the AI ​​Hackathon, people could pitch ideas, Hester came up with the idea that many people have trouble with difficult letters,” Litjens tells Bright. “The low literate in particular are often the victims, and governments are often the cause. But I also noticed that I often scan letters quickly and skip or forget things, and sometimes even put letters aside, so I recognized the problem.”

According to the makers, the app is mainly intended for anyone who wants to make complicated letters easier to read. “They can be low literate people, refugees, social workers who put their administration in order, but I myself also use the app daily, for example. We want to help everyone to have a better grip on the communication they receive,” says Litjens.

Privacy remains a weak spot of AI

LeesSimpel uses the OpenAI language model, GPT-4. As a result, letters are uploaded to OpenAI’s servers, where they are stored for a month. The makers of LeesSimpel themselves do not store anything, but it is still recommended to make personal information unreadable for privacy reasons. This can be done, for example, by only photographing parts without traceable information, or by covering up that information.

The makers would prefer to have the AI ​​run locally on the user’s phone, but that is not yet feasible. “The quality of OpenAI’s GPT-4 is so good right now that we’re doing it through them,” said Litjens.

LeesSimpel is downloadable for free in the App Store.

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