How AI is posing a challenge to academic integrity. Chatbot wrote an article for the education journal

A recent article in The Guardian highlights how the use of AI text generators for essay writing is becoming a growing concern for academic institutions. The article describes a paper entitled Chatting and Cheating: Ensuring Academic Integrity in the Era of ChatGPT, which was published in an education journal. What readers and the peer reviewers who cleared it for publication did not know was that the paper itself had been written by the AI chatbot, ChatGPT.

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The article reports that for years, universities have been trying to banish the plague of essay mills selling pre-written essays and other academic work to any students trying to cheat the system. But now academics suspect even the essay mills are using ChatGPT, and institutions admit they are racing to catch up with – and catch out – anyone passing off the popular chatbot’s work as their own.

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According to the article, many universities are “panicking” because it is incredibly tough to prove that a written document has been written by a machine, as the standard of writing is often good. In fact, the use of English and quality of grammar is often better than from a student.

The rise of AI essay writing tools, also known as AI text generators, is making it easier for students to cheat in their coursework, according to academics. The Guardian reported that universities are struggling to keep up with the technology, with some planning to expel students who are caught using the software. Experts warn that AI tools are making it harder to detect plagiarism, particularly given the high level of writing quality that they can produce. As AI technology continues to improve, universities will need to find new ways to maintain academic integrity and ensure that students are completing their work honestly.

AI text generators like ChatGPT, which was created by OpenAI, can write essays that are often of a high quality, and can even mimic the writing style of a human being. However, they struggle with academic referencing, which can give away the fact that the essay was not written by a human. Additionally, AI-generated essays tend to have a lot of facts and little critique, which can be another red flag.

Some universities, like Bristol University, have issued new guidance to their staff on how to detect if a student has used an AI text generator to cheat. This could result in expulsion for repeat offenders. Coventry University is also redoubling its efforts to educate students on the appropriate use of AI, and to warn them about the dangers of cheating. If a student is caught using an AI text generator, they would have to undergo training on how to use AI appropriately. If they continued to cheat, they would be expelled.

Despite the challenges posed by AI text generators, experts believe that they will not be able to replace human writers entirely. AI-generated essays may be good enough for earlier assignments, but as courses become more specialised, they will become less effective. It remains to be seen how universities will adapt to the rise of AI essay writing, and how they will ensure that academic standards are maintained.

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