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Is it plagiarism?

Plagiarism is a serious issue in academic and professional writing, as it involves presenting someone else’s work as your own. The question of whether using AI text generators can be considered plagiarism has become a topic of discussion and concern, especially for AI detection tools like Turnitin.

As a student, using this tool responsibly and ethically is crucial. Simply copying and pasting text generated by ChatGPT into a paper, report, or other assignments without proper citation and attribution is considered plagiarism. This is because the text generated by AI is not original and was created by an algorithm, not by the person who is submitting it.

The question of whether using ChatGPT can be considered plagiarism depends on how the user employs the tool. If the text generated by ChatGPT is used as a starting point for original research or writing, then it can be a useful tool for generating ideas and suggestions. In this case, it is important to properly cite and attribute the source of the information, just as you would do with any other source. Text generated by ChatGPT may contain information that isn’t original and may have been taken from multiple sources. 

However, if the text generated by ChatGPT is simply copied and pasted into a paper or report without any modifications, it can be considered plagiarism since the text isn’t original. The use of ChatGPT in this way is not only unethical, but also violates the terms of use for the tool, which clearly states that the text generated by the model should not be used for commercial purposes without proper attribution and citation.

While using ChatGPT as a generator of ideas may be considered acceptable at some academic institutions, the best recommendation for students is to avoid using the tool for assignments and stick to utilizing it for personal tasks.

AI-generated writing

Although text generated by AI is convincing, there are telltale signs that reveal an algorithm's handiwork. The writing is usually bland and unoriginal; tools like ChatGPT regurgitate existing ideas and viewpoints and don't have a distinct voice. Humans can sometimes spot AI-generated text, but plagiarism detectors such as TurnItIn can also identify AI-generated text. 

ChatGPT, however, doesn't have the same kind of flexibility as human writers and can only generate new words based on previous sentences. Turnitin's detector works by predicting what words AI is more likely to generate in a given text snippet. As Eric Wang, VP of AI at TurnItIn, explains, "It's very bland statistically. Humans don't tend to consistently use a high probability word in high probability places, but GPT-3 does so our detector really cues in on that," he said. Turnitin believes its detector will enable teachers and students to trust each other and the technology. 


Quan, Katyanna. "Universities offered software to sniff out ChatGPT-written essays." The Register.  23 Jan. 2023.

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