A Word of Caution on Using AI to Write Papers


Almost immediately after ChatGPT launched, there were concerns about how students would use the tool. Universities were worried that students would use it to generate papers from scratch and not put in any work themselves. Students, on the other hand, worried that their professors would be able to detect papers created by AI and flag them for plagiarism. The issue remains complex today. It’s important for students to know what are the appropriate uses of AI, both from an ethical standpoint and to avoid being accused of cheating.

Can Plagiarism Checkers Detect AI?

Most professors run their students’ papers through a plagiarism checker. This ensures the student hasn’t copied parts from other sources or collaborated with others. These tools now also detect AI. They provide professors with a percentage of how much of the paper is likely AI-generated content, with those sections highlighted.

AI tools are becoming more advanced — but plagiarism tools are keeping up. As well as detecting new capabilities of AI, the developers of these tools are constantly working on eliminating false positives. This is equally important because it could be devastating for a student who has done nothing wrong to be accused of cheating.
When Is It Appropriate to Use AI?
Some of your professors may not mind you using AI to an extent — although they’ll still expect you to put in the effort to create a great paper. However, other professors have a zero tolerance for AI. When this is the case, it is best to avoid AI tools entirely.

If you’re unsure about the standards at your university, ask your professor before you start writing a paper or find out what the rules are at your school by talking to your academic advisor.

Ways to Use AI

In the case your professor does allow you to use AI, this doesn’t mean you can generate a text and just edit it slightly. Instead, you may be able to use a tool like ChatGPT to gain inspiration, such as if you’re unsure where to begin or you’re struggling to come up with ideas for a particular section of your paper. You could also use an AI tool to create a first draft of your paper and then rewrite it in your own words — it’s important not to copy anything exactly because the plagiarism checker is likely to flag it.

However you use AI, you’ll still need to do research and find sources for your paper. It is crucial to fact check everything the AI produces because tools often hallucinate: make up facts and even sources for those facts.

If you’re considering turning to AI because you’re feeling frustrated with your studies, a better solution is to change your approach to schoolwork. The first step is to find somewhere you can study in peace. The best place is your own bedroom — but only if you don’t share it with anyone else. For Brock University off-campus housing where you’ll have your own space, there’s Parkway Lofts. In addition to the desk in your luxury student apartment, you can use the onsite study rooms. Book a tour to see how living here will give your life an upgrade.

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