AI Writing

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

With the rapid integration of AI into daily life, an ethical debate is at the center — is AI-generated content considered plagiarism and is using AI considered cheating?

AI is quickly 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, or to put it another way, is using AI cheating? 

As models like ChatGPT produce increasingly more human-sounding, authentic content, the real question becomes, where do we draw the line with AI cheating?

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

What Exactly Is AI-Generated Content?

Humans 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. It 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?

Is AI-generated content plagiarism, or is AI writing cheating? It seems like a simple question. However, to answer it, we need to understand two main parts of the question — the originality or authenticity of the text and the intent.

The Originality and Authenticity of the Text

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

The Intent

The second issue to explore is the intent. Is AI cheating? 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 suddenly sprung up on us, both academics and content creators alike have drawn a line in the sand with regard to AI, plagiarism, and if AI writing is cheating. 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 its first steps. It's 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. However, at the end of the day, the work should be more their style than something blatantly using AI-generated writing for cheating.

AI Generated Content Needs Citations

Academics 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 helps the writer or student more accurately refine their writing and gives readers an idea of how AI has played a role in 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. Transparency builds your credibility and authenticity as an expert in your field to maintain greater trust with your audience, so they can judge the quality of your content on its merits. 

Use of Plagiarism Detection Tools

In order to spot the key differences between AI-written content and human-written content, many website owners, marketing agencies, and institutions use plagiarism detection and AI-writing detection tools like Originality.ai.

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 the most from human intervention. This is especially true if you are trying to hook prospects based on emotion, sharing a personal experience, or expecting a more subtle, 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 continue to be the question of (and blurred lines between) what is and isn’t plagiarism or AI cheating. 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's 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 'original content'? It remains to be seen.

One thing is certain, there’s a definite need for balance when it comes to AI writing and plagiarism, so that using AI doesn’t result in cheating. At the very heart of the matter, boundaries and ethical guidelines need to be set up and held to — to leverage AI like the tool it is without compromising on the creativity and depth that makes human writing so authentic. 

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 and AI writing detection, Originality.ai can be used on a case-by-case basis to scan for AI writing or plagiarized material using the latest 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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