A Princeton student built an app which can detect if ChatGPT wrote an essay to combat AI-based plagiarism

A Princeton student built an app which can detect if ChatGPT wrote an essay to combat AI-based plagiarism
GPTZero can detect if text was written by AI or a human.Kilito Chan/Getty Images
  • A Princeton student built an app that aims to tell if essays were written by AIs like ChatGPT.
  • The app analyzes text to see how randomly it is written, allowing it to detect if it was written by AI.

A new app can detect whether your essay was written by ChatGPT, as researchers look to combat AI plagiarism.

Edward Tian, a computer science student at Princeton, said he spent the holiday period building GPTZero.

He shared two videos comparing the app's analysis of a New Yorker article and a letter written by ChatGPT. It correctly identified that they were respectively written by a human and AI.

Complimentary Tech Event
Transform talent with learning that works
Capability development is critical for businesses who want to push the envelope of innovation.Discover how business leaders are strategizing around building talent capabilities and empowering employee transformation.Know More

GPTZero scores text on its "perplexity and burstiness" – referring to how complicated it is and how randomly it is written.

The app was so popular that it crashed "due to unexpectedly high web traffic," and currently displays a beta-signup page. GPTZero is still available to use on Tian's Streamlit page, after the website hosts stepped in to increase its capacity.


Tian, a former data journalist with the BBC, said that he was motivated to build GPTZero after seeing increased instances of AI plagiarism.

"Are high school teachers going to want students using ChatGPT to write their history essays? Likely not," he tweeted.

The Guardian recently reported that ChatGPT is introducing its own system to combat plagiarism by making it easier to identify, and watermarking the bot's output.

That follows The New York Times' report that Google issued a "code red" alert over the AI's popularity.

Insider's Beatrice Nolan also tested ChatGPT to write cover letters for job applications, with one hiring manager saying she'd have got an interview, though another said the letter lacked personality.


Tian added that he's planning to publish a paper with accuracy stats using student journalism articles as data, alongside Princeton's Natural Language Processing group.

OpenAI and Tian didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment, sent outside US working hours.