The Princeton student who built an app to detect ChatGPT plagiarism opposes banning the chatbot in schools

The Princeton student who built an app to detect ChatGPT plagiarism opposes banning the chatbot in schools
ChatGPT, a conversational AI chat bot, has gone viral in the past two weeks.Getty Images
  • The founder of an AI-plagiarism tool told NPR he opposes the ban of ChatGPT in schools.
  • Founder Edward Tian said that students should know how ChatGPT works and be aware of its impacts.

Edward Tian, a senior at Princeton University, created a tool called GPTZero that identifies text generated by Open AI's ChatGPT to crack down on AI plagiarism. But that doesn't mean he supports banning ChatGPT in schools, he told NPR in an interview.

The 22-year-old computer science and journalism student told NPR that it's impossible to prevent students from using ChatGPT. Instead, it's important that students understand what the technology is capable of and what it means for society at-large as AI tools becomes integrated into our every day lives, he said.

"It doesn't make sense that we go into that future blindly," Tian told NPR. "Instead, you need to build the safeguards to enter that future."

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Tian didn't respond to Insider's request for comment before publication.

Tian's comments come after schools in the New York City Department of Education and the Seattle Public School systems banned students and teachers from using ChatGPT out of fear that they will use the AI to cheat and plagiarize.


In fact, Tian was inspired to build GPTZero during his holiday break after noticing an uptick in AI plagiarism, according to his Twitter thread.

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

But GPTZero isn't an app only meant for teachers to catch their students using ChatGPT to write their essays. It is also meant to encourage users to write with creativity, personality, and originality, which he argues an AI can't do, according to NPR.

"We're losing that individuality if we stop teaching writing at schools," Tian told NPR. "Human writing can be so beautiful, and there are aspects of it that computers should never co-opt. And it feels like that might be at risk if everybody is using ChatGPT to write."

And interest in GPTZero is strong. When Tian released a beta version of GPTZero at the beginning of the year, he was bombarded with messages from reporters, teachers, and principals in different countries, according to NPR. GPTZero was so widely used that it crashed.


Given the app's popularity, Tian plans on continuing to improve his app after he graduates from college.