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This post discusses how professors detect AI-generated papers, touching on methods like plagiarism detection software, inconsistencies in writing style, unusual language or terminology, lack of understanding in oral presentation, comparing with previous work, research sources, cross-referencing with online resources, follow-up questions, sudden improvement, and peer reports.

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Earlier this week,

I caught a short video clip of an educator reprimanding his class for using AI to write their papers on Instagram.

  • My first thought was…, seriously, they’re doing that?
  • Then my next thought was…, AI can do that?
  • Then my mind went to…, how do the professor know?

Then, I thought about Grammarly and how it uses AI technology to spot errors and improve my writing skills. So maybe it’s not as unuser-friendly or scary as it sounds.

  • ChatGPT has been getting a lot of press, and its sponsored posts are everywhere. So, I thoughtwell maybe I would check out ChatGPT 3.5 and ask it to help me with my resume writing. And it did, in two seconds. It needed some cleaning up, but it was all right.

So, I asked the most obvious source: “How do professors know when students use AI to write their papers?”

ChatGPT 3.5 Answer


Professors and educators have various methods and techniques to detect when students use AI or other unethical means to complete their papers. Here are some common ways they can uncover academic dishonesty:


Many educational institutions use plagiarism detection tools like Turnitin, Copyscape, or Grammarly’s plagiarism checker. These tools can identify if a paper has been copied from online sources or other student papers.


Professors familiar with their students’ writing styles can often spot inconsistencies if a paper is written by someone else or generated by AI. They may notice differences in vocabulary, sentence structure, or tone.


AI-generated content may sometimes contain unusual language or terminology that stands out from a student’s typical writing style or knowledge level.


When students present their papers orally or engage in discussions related to their written work, professors may notice if they need help answering questions or discussing the topic in-depth, indicating that they may not have authored the paper.


Professors may compare a student’s current paper with their previous assignments to check for significant writing quality or knowledge disparities.


Professors may inquire about the sources and references cited in the paper to gauge whether the student truly comprehends the material or if they are relying on AI-generated content

Side Note: It’s always best to cite all supporting sources not only for proof but also for good habits that will prepare you for graduate school just in case your undergrad program doesn’t teach or require citing sources.


Professors can conduct internet searches to check if sections of the paper match content available online. Which can help identify instances of direct copying or AI-generated content.


Professors may ask probing questions during discussions or oral exams to assess the depth of a student’s understanding of the paper’s content. If the student struggles to provide coherent explanations, it may raise suspicion.


If a student’s previous work was of significantly lower quality, but they suddenly submitted a high-quality paper, it can raise red flags and prompt further investigation.


Sometimes, fellow students may report suspicious behavior or the use of AI to complete assignments. Professors may investigate such claims.

Students need to adhere to academic integrity standards and complete their work honestly. The consequences of academic dishonesty can be severe, including failing grades, academic probation, or expulsion. Moreover, unethical behavior erodes trust within the academic community and can have long-term consequences for a student’s educational and professional prospects.


So, I am going, to be honest,

I would never use AI to do my papers for me because it would rob me of an excellent education and get me thrown out of school for plagiarism. And I didn’t work my butt off in school to lose everything for doing something this stupid or desperate.

I suggest using AI for other things, like getting clarification on topics or project questions, help with outlining a paper, finding out about appropriate databases and professional associations to find resources for citation, rewriting a resume, helping with a cover letter, discovering more about career options and how to get there.

For school, I would ask more profound or random questions about case studies and topics I’m learning about in class to see what AI would come up with and what opinions I would have other than my own. I would also ask it to summarize large amounts of information, especially when searching for specific information, and I would not have the time to go through 20-50 page pages to see if the paper is relevant to what I need. This can save time and prevent wasting time finding something irrevelant.

For Example:

Maybe you are writing a paper on emerging technology that is so new you can’t find what it’s being used for, and a faction of a percentage of the research sources provide a hint of possibilities; you would not want to waste time reading 100 more reports that do not provide the key information you are missing. Especially if you already have 20-30 resources on how the technology was created or how it was discovered. You would want to use AI, such as ChatGPT Plus, to search the paper to find hints of possible uses; which countries have the capacity, resources, and interest and are primed to buy and utilize the technology? 

More Valuable Uses

I would ask which databases are for research topics or industries XY or Z. I would also ask for search words to place in the boolean search. ChatGPT does hallucinate when too many people are using it at once or if your questions are too abstract. Clarity and direct help. You can also ask ChatGPT how to ask better questions for better answers. It is a very interesting program and a good math tutor. It is not best for explaining where it got its sources from so dont expect it to tell you, it’s all entered in with its programming. To me, it feels like the creators and developers of ChatGPT want the technology to be an assistant and not a replacement, so double checking, finding supporting citations, and collaborating with DhcatGPT on projects really helps not only in the learning process but also clarifying one’s own thoughts and desried direction of eac project. But that is just my opinion based on my interactions with ChatGPT and other AI platforms.desired direction of each but that is just my opinion based on my interactions

The Best Book I’ve Ever Read about AI

I love this book and highly recommend it: You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It’s Making the World a Weirder Place by Janelle Shane. This is my favorite book on artificial intelligence. With a 4.5-star rating from 947 Amazon reviews and a 4.2 rating on Goodreads, it offers a delightful and insightful journey into the world of AI. Featured on NPR’s “Science Friday” and praised by Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Daniel Pink, and Adam Grant, it’s a must-read. The Verge describes it as “affectionately down-to-earth to the year’s most hype-prone field of tech.”

Janelle Shane, the creator of the popular blog AI Weirdness, uses humor and accessible language to demystify AI. She shares amusing examples of AI’s attempts to name paint colors, create recipes, and even generate pick-up lines. These anecdotes not only entertain but also illuminate the underlying mechanics of AI technology that shape, entertain, in and entertain our everyday experiences, from recommendations and translations to self-driving cars and medical decisions.

Shane answers questions about AI—and some you never thought to ask. How does AI design the perfect sandwich? What does robot-generated Harry Potter fan fiction look like? Is “Vampire Hog Bride” really the world’s best Halloween costume? Her smart and often hilarious insights show how AI learns, fails, and evolves, reflecting human creators’ ingenuity and imperfections.

You Look Like a Thing and I Love You is an essential read for anyone curious about the artificial intelligence that increasingly influences our lives. Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals, says, “I can’t think of a better way to learn about artificial intelligence, and I’ve never had so much fun along the way.”

Discover why this book is a favorite among tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike, and enjoy a witty, informative tour through the fascinating world of AI.

Let Us Know What You Think!

If you like these articles and want to see more articles like this or perhaps on something else, let us know what you think in the comments at the bottom of the page.

If you want to learn more about ChatGPT or have homework questions about writing, math, or language learning syntax, check out Chat GPT Plus for more accuracy at open.AI. Coursera and EdX have affordable courses on AI prompt engineering for better results and use of the technology across text, video, and imagery. And don’t forget to check out or buy   You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How   Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It’s Making the World a Weirder Place to read the most thought-provoking and hilarious book I have ever read on AI. An absolute must-read!!


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