AI Writing

Where Do We Draw the Line When It Comes to AI Writing and Plagiarism?

With how quickly AI is being integrated into our daily lives and making its presence known across countless industries and professions, one of the biggest ethical debates at the center of it all is the very topic of this article – is AI-generated content considered plagiarism? 

Sherice Jacob

With how quickly AI is being integrated into our daily lives and making its presence known across countless industries and professions, one of the biggest ethical debates at the center of it all is the very topic of this article – is AI-generated content considered plagiarism? 

As models like ChatGPT continue to produce increasingly more human-sounding, authentic content, the very real question becomes, where do we draw the line?

But before we jump into the ethics of AI writing and plagiarism, it’s important to distinguish exactly what AI-generated content is:

What Exactly Is AI-Generated Content?

Just as the name implies, rather than humans, who write based on their vast knowledge of personal experiences, anecdotes, perspectives, opinions and emotions, AI models pour out information based on the content they’ve been trained on. AI has in essence been trained in the art of prediction and patterns and can predict the next words (or set of words) that would be most appropriate in a given situation, based on the context of the question. 

Is AI-Generated Content Plagiarism?

It seems like a simple question, but in order to answer it, we need to understand two main parts to the question:

The Originality and Authenticity of the Text

Although AI is writing “new” content, it’s still drawing upon a vast library of existing information. And if it happens to generate a phrase or sentence that matches something someone wrote before, just by chance and through its patterns and algorithms, even if it was intentional, does that count as plagiarism? By most modern definitions, it does. 

The Intent 

The second issue to explore is the intent. With plagiarism, there’s often an intention to deceive someone by passing off another person’s work or ideas as your own. Since AI doesn’t have a consciousness and therefore can’t have intentions behind its actions, is it really plagiarizing? 

Modern Problems Require Modern Solutions

As this is a very modern problem that has sprung up on us suddenly, both academicians and content creators alike have drawn a line in the sand with regard to AI and plagiarism. Here’s what they’ve currently decided, keeping in mind that with new developments in AI or new learning models these points can change at any time. 

AI Needs a Human-in-the-Loop

Right now, AI is like an infant taking their first steps: a little shaky, a little uncertain, and definitely not to be left unsupervised. Content creators can leverage AI just as they would any other type of writing tools to help them in the process, but at the end of the day, the work should be more their style than something blatantly ripped from AI-generated text.

AI Generated Content Needs Citations

Academicians agree that if certain information or the structuring of a sentence is pulled directly from an AI, it should be cited just like any other resource. This not only helps the writer or student more accurately refine their own writing, but it also gives readers an idea of the role that AI has played as part of the research and writing process. 

Transparency in Use

Whether you’re a student, blogger, copywriter or other content professional, you should always be open and transparent about the use of AI. Not only does this help build your credibility and authenticity as an expert in your field, but it also helps you maintain greater trust with your audience and they can judge the quality of your content on its own merits. 

Use of Plagiarism Detection Tools

In order to spot the key differences between AI-written content and human-written content, many website owners and marketing agencies, as well as institutions will use plagiarism detection and AI-writing detection tools like Originality.AI. And although there are instances of false positives (no AI writing tool can reach 100% accuracy), ongoing developments and major technological breakthroughs in machine learning and natural language processing have made these programs much more accurate and detailed. 

Setting Appropriate Boundaries

Although AI can be a powerful tool for generating content, outlines and ideas, some areas of writing still benefit most from human intervention, especially if you are trying to hook prospects based on emotion, sharing a personal experience or expecting more subtle or nuanced understanding of specific topics. 

What Might the Future Look Like in Terms of AI and Plagiarism?

Despite AI developing and evolving by leaps and bounds, you can expect there to always be the question of (and blurred lines between) what is and isn’t plagiarism. Given that AI can now pass the bar exam for attorneys, write full novels and screenplays and tackle other Herculean tasks, it wouldn’t be a far leap to say that it can create things that are on par with human creations if it is given the right prompts and training.

And with that in mind, would it then benefit from the same protections as human authors and creators? Would we change the definition of what “original content” is? It remains to be seen.

One thing is certain, there’s a definite need for balance when it comes to AI writing and plagiarism. At the very heart of the matter, boundaries need to be in place and ethical guidelines set up and held to in order to leverage AI like the tool it is, without compromising on the very writing skills that makes human writing so authentic – its creativity and depth. 

If you’re concerned about plagiarism with AI writing tools and want to check your writer’s or student’s work, try Originality.AI now for the most accurate AI detection currently available. With its thorough plagiarism detection as well as AI writing detection, Originality.AI can be used on a case by case basis to scan for AI writing or plagiarized material using the very latest in machine learning and AI technology. 

With scans starting as low as 1 cent per 100 words, it’s an excellent way to protect your writing and ensure that your content is both accurate and unique.

Sherice Jacob

Plagiarism Expert Sherice Jacob brings over 20 years of experience to digital marketing as a copywriter and content creator. With a finger on the pulse of AI and its developments, she works extensively with Originality.AI to help businesses and publishers get the best returns from their Content.

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