On April 4 2023, Turnitin launched their highly anticipated AI detection tool. As a large company, they had to scramble and deploy this tool quickly in order to respond to the swarm of students using ChatGPT to produce their entire work. Turnitin definitely got caught off guard by the adoption of generative AI by the masses.
The initial launch of their product had mixed reactions. Several sources came out with instances of students getting falsely accused of using ChatGPT to write their entire essay. In an article published in the Washington Post, it was reported that Turnitin’s AI detection tool failed on 3 of 16 attempts tested by the publisher.
Update from Turnitin
On May 23, 2023, Turnitin’s Chief Product Officer made a thorough update on their AI writing detection capabilities. In this update, they state that 3.5% of student submissions contain more than 80% AI written text! Another concern is that teachers are very concerned about instances of false positives. This is why Turnitin has been trying to add more disclaimers on their assessments, including a note on any document with less than 20% AI detected. They also raised their minimum input requirements from 150 words to 300.
Turnitin launched several online tools to help students and teachers evolve in the world of artificial intelligence. These tools include a discussion starter for difficult conversations around the use of AI.
An important element to keep in mind is that any assessment made on AI generated content is probabilistic. In other words, the result is an odd that a given piece of content is made with the help of AI. In many instances, the odds are 100%, in which case the output is quite firm, but in many other cases where the assessment is 50%, teachers shouldn’t take any actions.
Another important element is to get a second opinion. Most independent tests have concluded that Winston AI has the best AI detection rate in the industry.
The cat and mouse chase between teachers and students in the age of AI is only in the early inning. People will need to write by themselves, and teachers will need to adapt and accept some assistance from AI tools. It’s important to understand the limitations of AI detectors and read the assessments with caution before taking any action.
Turnitin’s AI detection tool launched on April 4, 2023, so it is still recent. The company mentioned they were improving their capabilities after a few setbacks reported early after their AI plagiarism detection feature release.
You should always scan your content through an AI detector software like Winston AI before turning in your assignments. You’ll get a clear overall assessment and highlights of sentences that are likely to flag AI detection softwares.
Most independently conducted studies identified Winston AI as the most accurate AI writing detector.