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UC Irvine launches customized generative artificial intelligence tool – UCI News

Irvine, Calif., March 18, 2024 — The University of California, Irvine has deployed a customized generative artificial intelligence solution called ZotGPT Chat. One of the first of its kind in the UC system, the tool was created to allow UC Irvine affiliates to explore AI in a safer, tailor-made environment. It officially launched for all faculty and staff in early January, with student access forthcoming. In addition to ZotGPT Chat, UC Irvine offers a variety of vendor-based products/services for faculty and staff in the ZotGPT portfolio.

“ZotGPT is about more than supporting innovation with the latest tools,” said Tom Andriola, vice chancellor for data and information technology. “It’s also about ensuring that we provide broad access to these new tools across our community in a secure and responsible way, with the proper support structures. ZotGPT can be leveraged for teaching, research and redesigning work processes and can serve as an engine for facilitating collaboration. We look forward to fully embracing the potential of generative AI in 2024 and beyond.”

ZotGPT Chat offers a mobile phone experience and voice chat. It protects the confidentiality of personal and institutional data, including uploaded files. This ensures that outside vendors cannot use proprietary data to train their models. Commercial AI services typically do not have these safeguards. ZotGPT Chat is currently available in an open-beta version. Faculty and staff adoption is strong and accelerating as the university works to refine and add new features.

Key items in the pipeline for ZotGPT Chat include:

  • Internet-enabled responses
  • Image generation
  • Custom chatbots using departmental data or websites
  • Ability of faculty and staff to use ZotGPT Chat in their own software programs, including to conduct groundbreaking research

“ZotGPT Chat gives UC Irvine researchers a powerful platform to explore the potential of generative AI in ways that protect the integrity of our data while simultaneously providing us access to ‘industrial-strength’ tools,” said Errol Arkilic, chief innovation officer. “With its access, we can cost-effectively run comprehensive experiments across a wide range of applications.”

A campuswide education campaign boosting AI literacy among faculty and staff is currently underway.

ZotGPT Chat rollout to students is anticipated later this year.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 37,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. For more on UCI, visit

Media access: Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UCI faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UCI news, visit Additional resources for journalists may be found at

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