Status of Videoconference AI Bots at Berkeley

June 13, 2024

We have received many questions about the current status of AI technology addons for University video conferences, especially OtterPilot and Zoom AI Companion. These type of AI meeting productivity addons are rapidly evolving; you can find the latest information and recommendations on the Berkeley IT service page for Zoom (which is the University's standard for video conferences). If you are using these in an academic context such as classroom or research use, the latest information will be found at RTL's Zoom for Instruction page (when available).

Zoom AI Companion - candidate campus AI meeting companion standard

Zoom AI Companion is included in the license costs for Zoom, which makes it a smarter default choice for the standard for video conferencing AI-addons for Berkeley.  There is currently a pilot open to administrative staff for administrative use-cases, and you and your team are welcome to sign up (write to if you want to sign up a whole department). We are using the pilot also to learn about issues and questions that come up and continuing to build and refine draft Zoom AI guidance for campus (input welcome). Zoom AI Companion is fine to use with P2 data (info on data protection levels at Berkeley). We expect to receive guidance in the future, as UC may elevate Zoom AI Companion to accommodate P3 data (but they have not yet). For those interested in academic use-cases, please indicate interest in the pilot form for future consideration. (More to be announced soon.)

OtterPilot - not recommended ( transcription with a subscription purchased through remains ok for P3, but not AI functions)

There has been some confusion about, partly because they have AI in their company name. is a UC Berkeley standard tool for live transcriptions. has been around for a long time providing real time (non-generative AI) transcriptions mostly used for accessibility for both in person meetings as well as video conferencing. DSP uses for student accessibility accommodations.'s new AI offering is called OtterPilot and this is not an approved campus service. While we do not recommend people use OtterPilot, the company does not give Berkeley the ability to prevent people from signing up with their UC Berkeley emails for a free consumer account.  Many people have done this and are sending OtterPilot bots into Zoom meetings, causing a lot of confusion. The paid enterprise OtterPilot account has not been enabled for campus beyond a small test group, but that service costs ~$20/month (compared to Zoom AI Companion which is included in the campus Zoom contract). While it is not forbidden to use OtterPilot (as long as only P1 is being discussed), hosts should feel free to boot any Otter "bot" attendees from Zoom meetings whenever it makes sense, either out of caution or host preference. The Productivity and Collaboration Services team will be engaging with campus stakeholders over time as norms around "bot attendees" evolve. Removing the ability for OtterPilot to attend meetings as a host preference or a global preference is not a technical option at this time as neither Zoom nor provide the mechanisms to do so.

Future Considerations

It is clear that the tech companies have a vision of how they see their AI companion products evolving, and Berkeley will have to make decisions aligned with the UC AI Guiding Principles and our operational needs on how much of this to adopt, including when and where these addons make sense for University business and academic use.