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Student creates tool that shows if essays are written by Artificial Intelligence

Daisy Phillipson

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Student creates tool that shows if essays are written by Artificial Intelligence

Featured Image Credit: Edward Tian/Alexey Kotelnikov/Alamy Stock Photo

When the latest AI chatbot dropped a couple of months back, students across the globe were no doubt excited by its essay-writing capabilities.

Although there have been plenty of chatbots before, none have worked quite so well as the recently updated ChatGPT, which was made freely available to the public in November by the Elon Musk-founded OpenAI.

In fact, the Tesla founder himself even joked that homework would be redundant in the future thanks to the handy new tool.

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But it looks like these dreams have been dashed as a student has created a website tool that can reportedly detect whether essays are written by the AI tool. Womp, womp.

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Princeton University student Edward Tian, who may just have lost some serious popularity points amongst his peers, created GPTZero in a bid to curb concerns about cheating.

Taking to Twitter earlier this month, the 22-year-old said: "I spent New Years building GPTZero – an app that can quickly and efficiently detect whether an essay is ChatGPT or human written."

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He went to offer up a couple of demos, showing just how easy it is to use. All you have to do is copy a paragraph of text and paste it into the GPTZero detector and it shows you its findings.

Edward Tian created the site over New Year's. Credit: Twitter/@edward_the6
Edward Tian created the site over New Year's. Credit: Twitter/@edward_the6

At the bottom of the page, the site tells tells you whether there's a high or low probability that it was written by an AI bot or a human.

Speaking about his motivation behind the project, the computer science major and journalism minor said: "In short, there's so much chatGPT hype going around. Is this and that written by AI? We as humans deserve to know!"

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As for how accurate it is, this one is still up for debate, as one Twitter user said they ran through some AI-generated text and it passed.

But Tian himself admitted it's still in the development stage, writing: "It's still barebones right now, but will be spending the next few weeks improving the model and analysis."

The tool still needs some refining. Credit: Twitter
The tool still needs some refining. Credit: Twitter

Although he's created this tool, that's not to say he's not a fan of the chatbot – quite the opposite, actually.

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In a conversation with Buzzfeed, he said: "AI is here to stay. AI-generated writing is going to just get better and better. I’m excited about this future, but we have to do it responsibly.

"I want people to use ChatGPT. And it's only going to be normalized, but it has to have safeguards."

The student said that he's already been contacted by teachers across the world, and it'll come as no surprise considering the meteoric rise of ChatGPT since its launch.

Furman University philosophy professor Darren Hick, for example, was bewildered to find out that one of his students had harnessed the power of AI in order to get out of doing her coursework.

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"Today, I turned in the first plagiarist I’ve caught using AI software to write her work and I thought some people might be curious about the details," he wrote on social media.

"The student used ChatGPT, an advanced chatbot that produces human-like responses to user-generated prompts."

He added: "This technology is about three weeks old."

One professor said he discovered his student had used ChatGPT to write an essay. Credit: Mopic/Alamy
One professor said he discovered his student had used ChatGPT to write an essay. Credit: Mopic/Alamy

The essay was, rather ironically, on philosophy, and though it appeared to demonstrate impeccable grammar and syntax, there was one major issue that tipped him off: It made no sense.

"The essay confidently and thoroughly described [the topic] in a way that was thoroughly wrong," the South Carolina educator said.

"To someone who didn’t know [the topic] ... it was perfectly readable. Even compelling. To someone familiar with the material, it raised any number of [red] flags."

Hick confronted the student and she admitted to her ruse, failing the class as a result.

Topics: News, Technology, Education, Science

Daisy Phillipson
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