College Student Builds App To Detect AI Written Essays: Will It Work? Sure

January 19, 2023

Artists are worried that AI algorithms will steal their jobs, but now writers are in the same boat because the same thing is happening to them! AI are now competent enough to write coherent text. Algorithms can now write simple conversations, short movie scripts, flash fiction, and even assist in the writing process. Students are also excited about the prospect of AI writing algorithms, because it means they can finally outsource their homework to computers. Or they could have done that until someone was genius enough to design an AI that detected AI-generated essays. Business Insider reports on how a college student is now the bane of the global student body: “A Princeton Student Built An App Which Can Detect If ChatGPT Wrote An Essay To Combat AI-Based Plagiarism.”

Princeton computer science major Edward Tian spent his winter holiday designing an algorithm to detect if an essay was written by the new AI writer ChatGPT. Dubbed GPTZero, Tian’s AI can correctly identify what is written by a human and what is not. GPTZero works by rating text on how perplexity, complex, and random it is written. GPTZero proved to be very popular and it crashed soon after its release. The app is now in a beta phase that people can sign-up for or they can use on Tian’s Streamlit page.

Tian’s desire to prevent AI plagiarism motivated him to design GPTZero:

“Tian, a former data journalist with the BBC, said that he was motivated to build GPTZero after seeing increased instances of AI plagiarism. ‘Are high school teachers going to want students using ChatGPT to write their history essays? Likely not,’ he tweeted.”

AI writing algorithms are still in their infancy like art generation AI. Writers should not fear job replacement yet. Artistic AI places the arts in the same place paintings were with photography, the radio with television, and libraries with the Internet. Artistic AI will change the mediums, but portions of it will persevere and others will change. AI should be used as tools to improve the process.

Students would never find and use a work-around.

Whitney Grace, January 19, 2023


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