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Does artificial intelligence help students cheat?

Darren Hick, Furman Department of Philosophy

Last updated January 12, 2023

By Tina Underwood

Furman University makes the headlines again amid growing concern over ChatGPT, artificial intelligence software that allows students to spit out papers and essays in seconds with just a few prompts. Nikki Battiste of CBS News takes a look at how it works and checks in with Furman’s Darren Hick, an assistant professor of philosophy.

Among the first to raise a red flag over ChatGPT’s possible use in classrooms, Hick told CBS that he was 99% sure a paper written by one of his philosophy students was actually written by AI after he ran it through detection software. “This was a very well written essay,” Hick said. “But the things that they said were just thoroughly wrong.” Eventually, the student admitted to using ChatGPT for the assignment.

The challenge for educators is detection. With machine learning, as in ChatGPT, the tools become increasingly more sophisticated over time and better able to hide their non-human qualities, the report added.

Dozens of CBS affiliate stations across the county aired the story, including major markets WGCL-ATL (Atlanta); WCBS-NY (New York); KMOV-STL (St. Louis); and KOLD (Tucson).

In a related story appearing in The News and Observer, Hick said programs to ferret out bot-written papers are out there, but they do little toward proving AI plagiarism. “[The technology] provides a mountain of circumstantial evidence, but that’s all it is,” he said.

Furman was also mentioned in Business News, Australian Financial Review (subscription required), Economic Times (India Times), and Euronews.

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