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Microsoft Announces General Availability of Copilot, Expands Data Protection to Education Users

Microsoft announced recently that its pilot AI program, Bing Chat and Bing Chat Enterprise, launched in February 2023, is no longer in beta and has been renamed as Microsoft Copilot. It is now available for general use.

Copilot uses the GPT-4 AI large language model (LLM) that helps users with tasks such as "drafting an e-mail, summarizing PDFs and articles, generating images with DALL-E 3, learning new skills, and getting answers to complex questions," Microsoft said.

Beginning in early 2024, Microsoft Copilot will be available to all faculty and higher education students ages 18 and above, the company said. These users will receive commercial-level data protection at no extra cost, backed by Microsoft's Universal Commercial License Terms for Online Services and subject to its Customer Copyright Commitment. That protection means:

  • Prompts and responses are not saved;
  • Microsoft does not view access; and
  • User data is not used to train the LLM.

Account holders can currently sign in to Copilot here. An updated and renamed user interface is planned for rollout to customers over time, the company said.

In addition, Microsoft has expanded Copilot for Microsoft 365 eligibility to include education users. Starting Jan. 1, 2024, enterprise pricing will be available at $30 per user per month for all faculty and staff.

While those with Copilot already enabled need do nothing, those who are new to it or need help transitioning from the Bing Chat interface can download an adoption kit containing training materials and ready-to-use e-mail templates.

For more information, see this blog post on the changes as well as details on the expansion to education here.

A video explaining more about Copilot is available here.

About the Author

Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.

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