5 plagiarism detection tools to tell if content is written by a bot like ChatGPT

SINGAPORE – Students love it, but it is the nightmare of teachers. ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, has been thrust into the spotlight since its latest version was released in November 2022.

The chatbot, developed by well-funded US start-up OpenAI, is able to generate coherent essays and solve word-based math problems.

The race to beat AI-assisted plagiarism and cheating is on. The Straits Times looks at five plagiarism detection tools.

1. GPTZero

Mr Edward Tien, a senior at Princeton University, spent his winter break in 2022 and New Year’s Eve developing GPTZero, an app to quickly tell if an essay was written by a human or ChatGPT.

The 22-year-old, who is pursuing a double major in computer science and journalism, uploaded a beta version of the tool on app hosting platform Streamlit in the beginning of January 2023 to help educators detect “aIgiarism” (AI-assisted plagiarism).

“We’ve tested the beta with a dataset of BBC news articles, and GPT-generated articles (with) the same headlines. The false positive rate is less than 2 per cent,” he told The Straits Times.

This means up to two out of every 100 articles are incorrectly classified as ChatGPT-generated when they are not.

“We’re working on several model improvements to make GPTZero highly accurate and easy to use for teachers,” he said, pointing to a sign-up list for the upcoming launch of

GPTZero uses two different metrics to assess whether content is written by a bot: perplexity and burstiness. Perplexity is a measurement of randomness in a sentence, while burstiness measures overall randomness for all the sentences in a text, factoring in length.

Text placed into the app will be assigned a number for both metrics. The lower the number, the more likely the content is created by a bot. Human writing tends to have sentences that vary in complexity, whereas bots tend to be more consistent. Texts with higher perplexities are more chaotic and not likely to be generated by language models.

Mr Tien said he has since been contacted by multiple venture capital firms, including American VCs Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.


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