Microsoft has one of the largest and most powerful collections of web servers on the planet. But even it might balk at the thought of a billion or so Windows users hitting data- and processor-intensive generative AI services 24-7. So perhaps it’s not surprising that some new language in its online services user license agreement says that Microsoft will employ “temporary throttling of Customer’s access to the Microsoft Generative AI service” for excessive use.
Exactly what constitutes excessive use of generative AI (which allows a user to create text and images based on specific input, as seen with ChatGPT and DALL-E) is not specified. But as anyone who’s tried out these tools knows, it’s not an instant process and complex strings of text generation or intricate formatting might take several minutes for a remote server to complete. The new changes to the licensing terms were spotted by Cloudy With a Chance of Licensing, which is my new favorite URL.
While the Copilot text and image generation tool is integrated widely across the operating system, and planned for an even wider integration, the change in terms is evidence that even Microsoft can’t predict the server load of potentially millions of users hitting the service at once. But if Microsoft is building in new terms allowing it to limit individual users, whatever the company defines “excessive use” to be, it must be anticipating a much larger hit to its data services in the future.
Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.