AI that writes


in Geek stuff, Internet matters, Teaching, Writing

Several recent articles have described text-generating AIs like GPT3 and ChatGPT:

I have been hearing for a while that the best/only way to deal with the enormous problem of plagiarism in university essays is to have more in-class exam essays and fewer take-home essays.

With huge classes and so many people admitted without strong English skills, it is already virtually impossible to tell the difference between students struggling to write anything cogent and some kind of automatic translation or re-working of someone else’s work. It’s already impossible to tell when students have bought essays, except maybe in the unlikely case that they only cheat on one and the person grading notices how it compares to the others. Even then, U of T only punishes people when they confess and I have never seen a serious penalty. If we continue as we are now, I expect that a decent fraction of papers will be AI-written within a few years. (Sooner and worse if the university adopts AI grading!)

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

. December 17, 2022 at 12:07 pm

After a few more pet elegies—in haiku; in ersatz 15th-century French—I turned to something a bit more practical. The online buzz from fellow academics that the bot was good enough to get passing grades on assigned essays. So I gave it a question from a midterm I gave my Journalism 101 class this semester. Its answer would’ve probably earned a C or C-. It had a few serious misunderstandings of the material, but it wasn’t totally off the mark. The program had inputted the question, parsed it, extracted the desired task, and output a poor-quality but appropriate answer—the sort of stuff that wouldn’t be out of place in a pile of test papers that unprepared undergraduates would produce. In other words, it would’ve had a decent shot of passing the Turing test.

. December 20, 2022 at 4:26 pm

ChatGPT arrives in the academic world

AI art and text generators are all the rage right now. As an academic, I’ve seen an uptick in colleagues issuing warnings about students using tools like ChatGPT to create assignments, but I haven’t yet really done too much investigation—I’ve been too busy grading final papers! But I recently came across two posts by academics that somewhat relieve the immediate worry about students successfully using ChatGPT to write their papers, and also raise challenges for educators about what we are actually doing in our classrooms.

. December 27, 2022 at 2:54 pm

Yet my writing career could still go the way of the grocery checkout jobs eliminated by automation. Al tools will keep getting smarter, and distinguishing an AI-written op-ed from a “real” human op-ed will get harder over time, just as AI-generated college papers will become harder to distinguish from those written by actual students.

As a writer and professor, that makes for a dystopian future. (I promise this sentiment was not generated by AI.)

. January 4, 2023 at 5:59 pm

NYC Bans Students and Teachers from Using ChatGPT

The machine learning chatbot is inaccessible on school networks and devices, due to “concerns about negative impacts on student learning,” a spokesperson said.

. January 4, 2023 at 6:00 pm

“At the same time, some teachers are reportedly “in a near-panic” about the technology enabling students to cheat on assignments, according to the Washington Post. The New York Times recently showed writers and educators samples of ChatGPT’s writing side-by-side with writing by human students, and none of them could reliably discern the bot from the real thing.”

. January 6, 2023 at 3:49 am

Top AI Conference Bans Use of ChatGPT and AI Language Tools To Write Academic Papers

. January 7, 2023 at 8:45 pm

College Student Made App That Exposes AI-Written Essays – Slashdot

. January 8, 2023 at 2:02 pm

AI experts are increasingly afraid of what they’re creating

AI gets smarter, more capable, and more world-transforming every day. Here’s why that might not be a good thing.

. January 14, 2023 at 11:03 am

Research Summaries Written By AI Fool Scientists – Slashdot

. January 18, 2023 at 7:24 pm

To play the game, Cicero looks at the board, remembers past moves and makes an educated guess as to what everyone else will want to do next. Then it tries to work out what makes sense for its own move, by choosing different goals, simulating what might happen, and also simulating how all the other players will react to that.

Once it has come up with a move, it must work out what words to say to the others. To that end, the language model spits out possible messages, throws away the bad ideas and anything that is actual gobbledygook, and chooses the ones, appropriate to the recipients concerned, that its experience and algorithms suggest will most persuasively further its agenda.

. January 24, 2023 at 12:16 pm

Anti-Plagiarism Service Turnitin Is Building a Tool To Detect ChatGPT-Written Essays

. January 24, 2023 at 12:19 pm

Scores of Stanford Students Used ChatGPT on Final Exams, Survey Suggests

. January 31, 2023 at 8:42 pm

Faced with criticism it’s a haven for cheaters, ChatGPT adds tool to catch them

. February 1, 2023 at 12:22 pm

ChatGPT isn’t the first research-paper-writing machine to drive journal editors to distraction. For nearly two decades, computer science journals have been plagued with fake papers created by a computer program written by MIT grad students. To use this program, named SCIgen, all you have to do is enter one or more names and, voilà, the program automatically spits out a computer science research paper worthy of submission to a peer-reviewed journal or conference. Worthy, that is, if none of the peer reviewers bothered to actually read the paper. SCIgen-written articles were so transparently nonsense that anyone with the slightest expertise in computer science should have spotted a hoax before finishing the first paragraph. Yet not only were SCIgen papers regularly getting past the peer review process and into the pages of scientific journals, it was happening so regularly that, in the mid-2010s, journals deployed an automated detector to try to stem the tide. Nowadays, unretracted SCIgen papers are harder to find, but you can still spot them in bottom-feeder journals every so often.

. February 2, 2023 at 11:39 pm

Colombian judge says he used ChatGPT in ruling

Juan Manuel Padilla asked the AI tool how laws applied in case of autistic boy’s medical funding, while also using precedent to support his decision

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