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Princeton student designs app to catch ChatGPT-written essays


A 22-year-old Princeton student has created a tool that determines if they have used an AI-driven text generator to cheat on written assignments.

ChatGPT and its capabilities have captured widespread attention, drawing praise while raising concerns. While the AI-driven program can quickly write an essay, a concern that naturally arises from this startling capability relates to widespread cheating among students.

Princeton University student Edward Tian went viral on Twitter after announcing he had created a tool called GPTZero, which checks if a text was written by a bot or a human.

Tian, who studies computer science and journalism, says his primary motivation to create the tool was the hype around ChatGPT as well as the human right to know if texts had been written by a fellow human or a computer. "Are high school teachers going to want students using ChatGPT to write their history essays? Likely not," noted Tian in his tweet.

Once Tian invited everyone to try the tool for free, it went viral, generating enough traffic to shut down the application. On January 3, Tian wrote: "Wow! woke up this morning, and did not expect so many ppl here! if the apps' not working rn it's likely because my free Streamlit hosting was not meant to handle so many ppl. going to reboot and try again [sic]."

To inspect texts, a user should post a paragraph in the window of the tool. It then analyzes the text, determines whether there's a high or low probability that it was written by an AI bot or a human, and displays the result at the bottom of the page.

The tool's accuracy is still up for question. One Twitter user said they tested AI-generated text on GPTZero, but the tool identified it as human-created. Tian acknowledged that his invention is a work in progress: "It's still barebones right now, but [I] will be spending the next few weeks improving the model and analysis."

Using ChatGPT for school cheating is not the only concern raised by the new technology. A recent investigation by the Cybernews research team revealed that an AI-based chatbot could provide hackers with step-by-step instructions on how to hack websites. After only 45 minutes of chatting, researchers got all the necessary information for exploiting a website's vulnerabilities.


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