- Over 2.1 million educators using Turnitin, which provides plagiarism detection and prevention tools, will be able to spot writing produced by artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT in students’ assignments, the company announced.
- The new feature, which launches Tuesday, has a 98% confidence rate for detecting AI writing tools and will be integrated into current Turnitin systems including Turnitin Feedback Studio (TFS), TFS with Originality, Turnitin Originality, Turnitin Similarity, Simcheck, Originality Check and Originality Check+. Additionally, the AI detection capability will be accessible through learning management systems.
- The feature is being released at a time when educators are calling for accurate AI detection services, said Turnitin CEO Chris Caren in a statement. The company began developing the AI writing detection capabilities about two years before the release of ChatGPT.
A noticeable number of students and teachers alike are already embracing the use of ChatGPT in their daily work.
Some 43% of college students said they have used AI tools like ChatGPT, according to a March survey of 1,000 undergraduate and graduate college students by BestColleges. Half of the students who reported using AI said they’ve turned to these tools for assignments and exams.
At the same time, BestColleges found 51% of students surveyed said they agree that using AI tools on assignments and exams qualifies as cheating or plagiarism. Another 29% were neutral, and 20% disagreed. In addition, 6 in 10 college students surveyed said they expect AI tools like ChatGPT to become “the new normal.”
But amid fears of plagiarism, some schools and colleges have leapt to block the AI tool on their networks and devices. The BestColleges survey found that 31% of college students report their instructors, course materials, or school honor codes have already explicitly banned AI tools. And just as ChatGPT emerged into the public eye, the nation’s largest school system, New York City Public Schools, blocked access to the AI chatbot following requests from schools.
Turnitin’s integration to seamlessly detect AI on such a wide scale may provide some relief to concerns that students will over-rely on generative AI for their schoolwork.
The company added that it will continue to finetune its AI detection software’s accuracy in the near future.
“Turnitin’s technology has high accuracy and low false positive rates when detecting AI-generated text in student writing,” said Annie Chechitelli, chief product officer at Turnitin, in a statement. “To maintain a less than one percent false positive rate, we only flag something when we are 98 percent sure it is written by AI based on data that was collected and verified in our controlled lab environment.”
Beyond plagiarism concerns, some school administrators are also wary of ChatGPT’s elusive student data privacy standards and have suggested that OpenAI, the company that runs the AI chatbot, will share its information with anyone. Unless required by law, OpenAI says on its website that it may share personal information to third parties, such as vendors, without notifying users.
But other educators still see value in using the AI tool in classrooms and say blocking access to ChatGPT will become an equity issue for students.