University of Wisconsin-Madison announced that students, faculty, and staff will now have access to Microsoft Copilot, the tech company’s generative artificial intelligence (AI) platform.

The school said the technology can help users text, analyze data, summarize documents, create images, write code, and learn new skills. Previously, the tool was only available to faculty and staff but is now available for student use.

The university noted that, unlike open commercial AI tools, Copilot provides additional data protection. Explaining that when users log in with their UW-Madison NetID. Microsoft will not use the prompts or responses to train its AI models, meaning user data is kept private. However, the school did stress that sensitive and restricted data should not be entered into Microsoft Copilot.

Copilot uses multiple data models to generate written and visual content based on a prompt. Through an integration with Bing search, Copilot has access to current internet data, enabling it to provide up-to-date responses to user requests.

As part of the rollout, school leaders said the Division of Information Technology Help Desk is prepared to assist those having challenges accessing Copilot. However, the school explained the Help Desk is not able to consult on topics such as AI prompt engineering, access to specific large language models (LLMs), or other specific uses of Copilot.

For instructors, the university is offering a series of informal gatherings where faculty can ask questions, hear from campus colleagues, and share their own experiences.

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