Are you a teacher wondering whether your students are actually writing the book reports they are turning in or if they’re instead turning to the recently released and surprisingly useful ChatGPT? Or, on the flip side of things, are you a student wondering if you can turn in an essay written by an AI instead of a person?
Well, if you’re a student then just do the writing yourself and if you’re a teacher then your problem-solving technology is here. That would be GPTZero, a piece of software developed by Edward Tian, a 22-year-old senior at Princeton University.
GPTZero is an app that Tian developed over his winter break so that teachers can screen essays to see if they were written by ChatGPT and hopefully stop AI plagiarism. Tian’s app, if it works as advertised, is the solution to the problem posed by unethical use of ChatGPT in academic environments.
Tian announced GPTZero on Twitter in a January 2nd tweet, saying “I spent New Years building GPTZero — an app that can quickly and efficiently detect whether an essay is ChatGPT or human written.” Attached to that was a short video explaining how GPTZero works. Watch that here:
— Edward Tian (@edward_the6) January 3, 2023
Continuing the Twitter thread about GPTZero and his intent in creating it, Tian went on to say:
the motivation here is increasing AI plagiarism. think are high school teachers going to want students using ChatGPT to write their history essays? likely not.
the analysis is based on some ongoing research with and @sreejan_kumar and @princeton_nlp . hopefully we’ll publish something empirical soon. but in the mean time this was a fun app to make 🙂
in short, there’s so much chatgpt hype going around. is this and that written by AI? we as humans deserve to know!
feel free to try the beta yourself at http://gptzero.me or https://tinyurl.com/GPTZERO it’s still barebones right now, but will be spending the next few weeks improving the model and analysis.
NPR, describing how GPTZero works and what the algorithm is looking for when it attempts to detect AI-written writings, reports that:
To determine whether an excerpt is written by a bot, GPTZero uses two indicators: “perplexity” and “burstiness.” Perplexity measures the complexity of text; if GPTZero is perplexed by the text, then it has a high complexity and it’s more likely to be human-written. However, if the text is more familiar to the bot — because it’s been trained on such data — then it will have low complexity and therefore is more likely to be AI-generated.
Separately, burstiness compares the variations of sentences. Humans tend to write with greater burstiness, for example, with some longer or complex sentences alongside shorter ones. AI sentences tend to be more uniform.
In a demonstration video, Tian compared the app’s analysis of a story in The New Yorker and a LinkedIn post written by ChatGPT. It successfully distinguished writing by a human versus AI.
It remains to be seen if Tian’s program works as advertised but, if it does, or students at least fear that it does, it could cut down on AI plagiarism and the use of ChatGPT for uses other than fun and novelty.
Even if it doesn’t work as well as Tain intended, there are other solutions to the AI plagiarism problem making their way toward the market, as NPR also reported, saying:
The college senior isn’t alone in the race to rein in AI plagiarism and forgery. OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT, has signaled a commitment to preventing AI plagiarism and other nefarious applications. Last month, Scott Aaronson, a researcher currently focusing on AI safety at OpenAI, revealed that the company has been working on a way to “watermark” GPT-generated text with an “unnoticeable secret signal” to identify its source.
The open-source AI community Hugging Face has put out a tool to detect whether text was created by GPT-2, an earlier version of the AI model used to make ChatGPT. A philosophy professor in South Carolina who happened to know about the tool said he used it to catch a student submitting AI-written work.
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