Can ChatGPT plagiarize, or is AI plagiarism free?

The technological and philosophical arguments regarding AI plagiarism

OpenAI's ChatGPT and the legal issue of AI chatbot plagiarism law.

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With the rise in popularity of AI writing tools, many are starting to question whether arguably the most popular AI chatbot on the market, ChatGPT, is plagiarism-free. Keep reading as we answer “Can ChatGPT plagiarize – or is AI plagiarism free?”

Plagiarism, particularly in academia, is a hot topic. And now with ChatGPT’s ability to heavily assist in writing anything from essays to dissertations on a broad range of topics, anyone using the tool should be aware of any risks of being potentially flagged for plagiarism – even if unintentional.

Here we’ll take a closer look at the AI chatbot, and if using it holds any possibility of plagiarism.

ChatGPT and AI plagiarism

Perhaps unfortunately for anyone wanting to clearly unmask AI, models with natural language processing (NLP) capabilities are…sophisticated. AI chatbots do not simply copy and paste chunks of text into a response. They generate new and unique text that does not necessarily even exist in their own training data. While this process could dismissively be called autocomplete, the man who created it, Geoffrey Hinton, believes that AI is more intelligent and cognisant than the layman gives it credit for.

ChatGPT’s use of NLP (Natural Language Processing) sets it apart, and identifying its text by just looking at it can be difficult.

But, as NPR pointed out in a December report on AI and plagiarism: “OpenAI…has signaled a commitment to preventing AI plagiarism and other nefarious applications”. In one way, if ChatGPT is plagiarism free that can be seen as a sort of success for development. But it also causes problems of integrity, potential cheating, and more.

OpenAI stated it was addressing this by developing a ‘watermark‘ that will show when a copy has been AI-generated. And has since delivered an ‘AI text classifier‘ to allow AI text to be detected. However, this tool proved too inaccurate to see a global rollout, and has since been discontinued.

Something else that is important to note is that ChatGPT doesn’t give everyone the same answer. It is designed to provide personalized answers that are tailored to the individual user’s preferences. This means that two people who input the same question to ChatGPT may receive different answers, depending on their respective preferences.

This further demonstrates how sophisticated ChatGPT truly is. It also highlights the fact that the language model does not directly plagiarise chunks of text that could be found elsewhere. Instead, it generates its original content.

Is it plagiarism to use AI?

To understand just how and why LLMs (Large Language Models) don’t plagiarize, you need to understand the computer science behind them. Well, we don’t have time for that, so instead imagine the biggest book you’ve ever seen. It includes every word in the English language several times. Now imagine you don’t know any English at all, but you can tell from the book which words appear most commonly before and after other words. Given enough examples, you can put together an English sentence.

You don’t copy and paste anything, you simply write a word, then write the next word with the highest probability to come after the previous one. What you write may or may not exist in that book, but not as a result of copy and paste – as the innocent result of probability. Of course, a human can do the same thing, again without malintent.

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ChatGPT Plagiarism Score

How plagiarism-free is ChatGPT? That’s a hard question to answer. Turnitin, a company offering solutions to ensure originality in writing says it can detect ChatGPT.

On the other hand, some reports suggest that ChatGPT-derived text scores as low as 5% when tested by a plagiarism monitor. For some tools, under 20% is an ‘acceptable’ score. But it will depend on the tool used and the type of copy.

Is AI plagiarism free?

There’s perhaps a clash of morality and capabilities when it comes to AI content being plagiarism free. Certainly, AI content that passes plagiarism tests can be considered well-developed and engineered. But the key question may be whether AI content being plagiarism free is a good thing.

The answer, in a logical and technological sense, is no. Wether this truth will emerge unscathed through the filter of lawmakers who are not themselves computer scientists remains to be seen. The philosophical argument is of course more subjective, and I can’t claim to have a definitive answer for you there. Creating human-like applications to interact with is one thing. But who wants to be duped by them?

Can ChatGPT plagiarize?

No, ChatGPT doesn’t plagiarize, but the produced text can have re-used phrases within it which, in an isolated sense, appear to prove the opposite. But again, a human can produce the same result through guiltless probability. The shorter the sentence, and the more objective the topic, the more likely two sources are to exactly “copy” one another without knowing it. If the intent of the duplication is what we really want to question here, then ChatGPT and LLMs like it are unimpeachable. Sorry, this all got a tad more philosophical than intended.

The more morally obvious conclusion to draw is that, while ChatGPT can have its uses, leveraging it for such things as school work, is not guilt-free. Especially given the fact that teachers now are finding ways of detecting when a paper has been written by ChatGPT.

Does ChatGPT plagiarize Reddit?

In the truest sense, ChatGPT doesn’t plagiarize. Reddit posts have also suggested that using ChatGPT isn’t plagiarism and doesn’t flag as plagiarism in tests.

What’s important is that ChatGPT doesn’t knowingly copy or use others’ text. However, it will offer responses learned from the data it has been trained on, meaning it can offer responses that are like those found elsewhere – like a human may. We can consider how ChatGPT was trained using text from books, websites, and blogs to see why this is the case.

If you are wondering “does ChatGPT plagiarize Reddit?” specifically, there’s no suggestion that is the case. It is possible though that ChatGPT was trained on text data that is available on Reddit.

Which is the best plagiarism checker?

If you are looking for a reliable plagiarism checker, we recommend Turnitin. Turnitin does not necessarily detect plagiarism but does measure how similar your work is to other sources. It is a highly advanced tool and is trusted by many universities and colleges.

If you are looking for an AI detector, we recommend GPTZero. This model can scan through any text (250 words minimum) and produce an AI likelihood score. And according to the creator, the model has 98% accuracy.

Final Thoughts

ChatGPT content is not plagiarism insofar as it is not copying the work of someone else outright. However, it is somewhat questionable from an academic integrity standpoint, in the sense that if you use an answer or essay generated by the chatbot, you have not created the work yourself.

There are AI detectors and plagiarism detection tools that are becoming more sophisticated seemingly by the day, and we predict that getting away with submissions that are largely AI-generated content will become more difficult in the months to come.

If you are looking for more ChatGPT articles, then head over to our what is ChatGPT and how can you use it piece.