AI Plagiarism: How To Check if AI Wrote This?

Quick question: Which of the following three sentences was not written by AI (ChatGPT-4)?

Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. I discovered that bravery isn’t about being fearless, but rather about overcoming fear. I realized that true valor lies not in avoiding fear, but in conquering it.

The answer is: The first one.

It’s a quote by Nelson Mandela, former freedom fighter and president of South Africa.

If you didn’t get it right, you’re in good company: The vast majority of us can’t distinguish AI from human-written content according to a recent survey.

This gives rise to what researchers call the threat of ‘AI plagiarism’: A growing number of students and professionals are using AI to generate content that may be subject to plagiarism penalties.

In this article you’ll discover:

  • How to check for AI plagiarism
  • Whether or not AI is subject to plagiarism laws
  • The best AI plagiarism checker tools available in 2024

Let’s dive right in:

What Is Plagiarism?

According to the San José State University, plagiarism is defined as:

[…] the act of representing the work of another as one’s own without giving appropriate credit, regardless of how that work was obtained, and submitting it to fulfill academic requirements.

According to the university, Plagiarism includes:

  1. Knowingly (or unknowingly) representing ideas, words, sentences, and paragraphs of another person without giving credit
  2. Representing another’s artistic or scholarly works (such as computer programs, inventions, paintings, drawings) as one’s own

This also goes along with the Merriam-Webster definition of ‘plagiarize:

“to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own: use (another’s production) without crediting the source.”

In plain English, this means that plagiarism is representing another person’s work as your own.

Is Plagiarism Illegal?

Plagiarism is not a crime under criminal law. However, it may lead to the following results that may be pursued in court:

  1. Copyright infringements. In short: You make money out of someone else’s original work (where they should make money out of).
  2. Breach of contract. In short: An employer hires you to create original work. Yet you deliver plagiarized work.

According to the Citadel, copyright infringements can lead to jail time in severe cases. However, breach of contract is typically limited to monetary punishment, according to Cornell Law School.

Is Plagiarism A Crime?

The act of plagiarism itself is not a criminal offense. If you commit plagiarism, the police will not immediately storm your house and lock you in jail. However, it can have serious legal, academic, and professional consequences.

Attributing sources appropriately and respecting others’ intellectual property rights is essential. It’s the morally right thing to do, so it’s good karma (as Steve Jobs would say).

Avoiding plagiarism is especially important as a student:

What Are The Consequences Of Plagiarism As A Student?

Typically, plagiarism as a student is not pursued in court but may lead to internal punishment. Such as:

  • Failing an assignment
  • Failing a course
  • Removal from a major
  • School suspension

All of these situations can bring severe and long-term professional consequences, that may be difficult to recover from as a younger adult.

While most students who use plagiarized content are aware of their behaviors – some may not. It turns out that using AI as a help for essays and papers may also result in plagiarism:

Is Using AI Plagiarism?

A recent article from Harvard University asked the following question:

“AI creates content by drawing on a large library of information that’s already been created, but is it plagiarizing?”

So, could there be instances where Large Language Models (LLMs), such as Bard and ChatGPT-4, ‘borrow’ from original work – and may make you believe it’s your own?

The answer is maybe.

In another article about the 10 Best AI plagiarism checker we outlined that Large Language Models are called ‘stochastic parrots’. Meaning, they create logical sentences of text without understanding the content.

Almost like a parrot, that regurgitates the same phrases of words that it has overheard. And if the phrases of the word that it has overheard turns out to be original content by another author, or in the case of Large Language Models (LLMs) original ‘training data’…

…well, then it indeed may be plagiarism. Although a more distant form of it.

Let’s look at ChatGPT-4:

Does Chat-GPT Plagiarize?

So… is using Chat-GPT plagiarism?

The reality is that ChatGPT has been pre-trained on over 40 terabytes of text. This is close to 40 million books.

The sheer amount of data Large Language Models (LLMs) are trained with means two things:

  1. The model itself has likely been fed with many original works of authors.
  2. The given output will unlikely lead to plagiarism claims of one single author.

If you combine a large amount of original work, you may create content that is so different from the original that it can’t be traced back to it.

This is what researchers found in a recent study called ‘Will ChatGPT Get You Caught?‘. The researchers tested ChatGPT-created essays with plagiarism checkers such as Turnitin and iThenticate.

The result? Classical plagiarism-detection software classified 80% of them with a high level of originality (20% similarity score or less).

So ChatGPT may plagiarize, but the generated content is (almost) undetectable.

Can Universities Detect AI Plagiarism?

Similar to the study mentioned above, most universities rely on well-established tools such as Turnitin and iThenticate to detect plagiarism.

This may create a chip in their armor when it comes to detecting AI content by the newest LLMs, such as ChatGPT-4. Because tools such as Turnitin may be trained to detect plagiarism from older content.

For students, this means that most universities (including most professors), can likely not tell if you use AI to write a paper or an essay.

This doesn’t mean you should rely on AI to get through university. Always remember that the purpose of going to university is to help you understand your topic of study.

University prepares you for a competitive 21st-century workplace. You can only be properly prepared if you internalize your field of study by investing time and energy whilein university.

Using AI may help you make your studying efforts more effective – and write your papers and essays more quickly.

Make sure you understand what you’re writing about (and conceal any AI-generated content effectively). Here’s how you can do that:

How To Check For AI Plagiarism? The Rise of AI Detectors

Given that conventional plagiarism-detection software considered the ChatGPT-generated essays as human-written, it’s worth looking at alternatives for educators and AI users alike.

What is required is a first line of defense: A tool that checks whether or not the text was generated by AI (before checking it for plagiarism in the conventional way).

This tool is called an ‘AI detector’.

There are plenty of AI detectors available that can accurately identify AI content. For educational institutionsand students and professionals alike who want to ensure that their content is not flagged by common AI or plagiarism checkers, these have become a must.

Click on the link to discover a comprehensive list of the best AI detectors in 2024.

One of the best AI detectors is Undetectable AI. It can accurately screen content for signs of AI, has over 5,000,000 users – and has been featured by Forbes.

You can use the Undetectable’s AI Plagiarism Checker for free to detect plagiarism.

undetectable ai plagiarism checker

Did AI Write This? How To Identify AI-Generated Text

Counterintuitively, older people are better at identifying AI-generated content than younger people, according to a recent survey.

So, it’s not that exposing yourself to text written by AI may help you distinguish it better. It may actually unconsciously help you build a tolerance towards it.

The best way to identify AI-generated text is to use AI tools that are trained on a similar amount of data. It is almost like: “Takes one [robot] to know one [robot].”

These AI tools are generally called ‘AI content detectors’ or just ‘AI detectors.’ These programs use advanced algorithms to see hidden, underlying patterns in text that we humans are not consciously aware of.

How To Avoid Plagiarism Using AI

There are a few best practices to avoid plagiarism when using AI-generated text:

  • Ask LLMs for the primary sources of their information in the prompt (Do not use ‘ChatGPT’ as a source).
  • Use AI-generated content as a starting point, not the final product.
  • Rephrase the content you use from LLMs.
  • Follow the specific guidelines and ethical standards of your field.
  • Double-check the end result by testing it with an AI detector such as Undetectable AI.
  • Use an AI humanizer (also offered by Undetectable AI) to automatically rephrase the content. This has less AI detection likelihood than manually rephrasing it according to this study.

The Best Online AI Plagiarism Checkers

The previous study ‘Will ChatGPT Get You Caught?’ used well-researched tools such as:

  • Turnitin, and:
  • iThenticate

While these are great tools for general plagiarism detection, they may not be as optimal for using a plagiarism checker in combination with AI detection.

They may be used in combination with one of the following free AI detectors (and AI plagiarism checkers) for the best results:

  1. – Best Overall AI Detector
  2. GLTR – Good for detecting older ChatGPT Versions
  3. ZeroGPT – Good for Freelancers
  4. Sapling – Good for Agencies

You can find an in-depth review of the above AI detectors, along with six more AI detectors, here: Top 10 Best AI Content Detectors

Conclusion: Was This Written By AI? AI Plagiarism Checker

AI content is here to stay, and it’s getting more indistinguishable from human-written content by the day.

Newer versions of ChatGPT are 16.5% less likely to be detected as AI by subjects than older versions.

Contrary to popular belief, consuming a lot of AI-generated content may not make you better at detecting AI-generated text. Based on this survey, older people were better at detecting AI-generated content than people aged 18-24.

The only viable solution for business owners, institutions, and professionals who want to avoid penalization due to plagiarism or other concerns, is effective AI plagiarism checkers.

While there are many well-established sources, such as Turnitin and iThenticate, we recommend using newer AI detectors in combination with them to give the most effective results.

Especially since a lot of AI detectors are free and easy to use. You can test our AI detector of choice – Undetectable AI.

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