A college professor says he found an easy way to catch AI-generated plagiarism after he found fake quotes in some ChatGPT content.
“It’s very easy to identify fake references,” said Terence Day, professor of physical geography at Okanagan College in British Columbia. “All you really have to do is check them out on the internet.”
WATCH: A COLLEGE PROFESSOR DETAILS HIS AI PLAGIARISM DETECTION METHOD
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Day suggested that professors ask students to attach a hyperlink for each reference included in a class assignment.
“It’s usually done in terms of what’s usually called the DOI, the digital object identifier, and that’s a hyperlink,” he told Fox News. “You click on it. Does that exist ? Doesn’t it exist?
Day detailed his method of detecting false AI citations in a peer-reviewed research paper published earlier this month in The Physical Geographer. He developed the approach after experimenting with ChatGPT and found it produced answers to his geography-themed questions with seemingly legitimate quotes.
But upon closer inspection, these AI-generated references turned out to be fake, according to the professor.
“The references and quotes associated with my investigations … were unfamiliar to me,” he told Fox News. “So I checked them out. And what I found out was that they were all completely wrong.”
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“I went to the journals’ home pages and looked through the volumes and page numbers, and they weren’t there,” Day continued.
The professor said he entered some of the journal titles cited by ChatGPT into Google Scholar, a search engine for scholarly literature, but they did not appear.
“I was a bit confused and tried one or two more – and more and more,” he told Fox News. “I have never found one that is accurate, complete and extant.”
Day said all the quotes he double-checked were apparently tampered with. He added that they were “presumably produced by the algorithm as part of a predictive process based on the…limited training it has in a particular area.”
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The professor said he believes his approach can detect plagiarism more reliably than competing AI software.
“There is growing interest in plagiarism detection software, which is able to detect written material from an AI chatbot,” he told Fox News. “The problem is that it only gives a probability that the material is plagiarized, and it cannot say for sure whether or not it was written by a person or if it was written by the ChatGPT.”
Day said he believed the simplicity of his method reduced ambiguity about whether a student had cheated.
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“The advantage of the approach I’m advocating here is that the idea is just to check references,” he told Fox News. “If the references exist, that…suggests it’s probably genuine.”
“If the diary doesn’t exist, then I’m sorry. You got caught,” the professor added.
To watch the full interview, click here.