Information Technology Services (ITS)

AI chatbot Microsoft Copilot available to U of T employees

Published on: December 11, 2023

Eligible staff, faculty and librarians at the University of Toronto have access to Microsoft Copilot, an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot and search engine (formerly Bing AI), through their U of T account effective Dec. 4. Eligible U of T employees have access to the secure enterprise edition of Microsoft Copilot, which conforms to the University’s privacy and data protections. The public version does not have full privacy and data protections in place.

Microsoft Copilot is connected to Microsoft’s search engine and responds to prompts with detailed information and footnotes that link back to original sources on the internet.

The Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation has developed guidelines for use, including detailed instructions on how to access the enterprise edition of Microsoft Copilot. Employees are encouraged to read and adhere to these guidelines.

“With its ability to provide up-to-date information and real links, Microsoft Copilot can be used as a research tool among staff, faculty and librarians at the University,” says Avi Hyman, Director, Academic, Research & Collaborative Technologies. “It could also be used for writing, generating images and other tasks.”

Students do not currently have access to the enterprise edition of the service. As some students are also employees, access to Copilot is connected to the primary license type assigned to individuals by their departments.

“As with all generative AI tools, results may vary, and output may not be correct,” Hyman says. “It is up to each individual user to determine if the results are acceptable.”

Despite the name, this service is not the same as Microsoft 365 Copilot, and does not use or access Outlook emails, SharePoint files, Teams messages, etc. Chat data is not saved, nor is it used to train models or made available to Microsoft.

The enterprise edition of Microsoft Copilot has been evaluated by U of T’s Information Security team and is considered safe for use with up to level 3 data. This service should not be used with private, sensitive, personal identifiable or confidential information, or material where the copyright holder has not granted permission.

Additional U of T resources about generative AI: