Princeton Student Develops GPTZero, Software to Detect Plagiarism by AI Language Model ChatGPT

Russell Kidson
Feb 17, 2023
Updated • Feb 17, 2023

Princeton Student Develops GPTZero, Software to Detect Plagiarism by AI Language Model ChatGPT

Upon discovering ChatGPT, a novel chatbot program, Edward Tian, a computer science concentrator who is currently working on his thesis concerning artificial intelligence (AI) detection, tasked the bot with generating rap lyrics. During his winter break, Tian spent several days coding a software, which he named GPTZero, in a Toronto coffee shop. This program is designed to identify writing created by AI.

Princeton Student Develops GPTZero, Software to Detect Plagiarism by AI Language Model ChatGPT

On January 2, Tian shared the beta version of GPTZero on Twitter. Since then, his tweet has garnered over 7 million views, and the software has been downloaded by individuals residing in 40 states and 30 countries, according to Tian. Additionally, his product has been covered by several prominent news outlets, such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, among others. Tian recently spoke with the 'Prince' about the future of GPTZero and his plans for the software.

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‘I had a bunch of free time over break,' he said in an interview. 'I was like, maybe I’ll just code this out, so everybody can use it.’

OpenAI, a prominent artificial intelligence research company that has been in operation for seven years, created ChatGPT, an AI chatbot that is capable of engaging in conversations with users and producing written content in various styles in response to plain English prompts. The remarkable accuracy and potential applications of ChatGPT have generated significant interest and debate among experts and the public alike. For Edward Tian, this conversation sparked an interest in the potential consequences of ChatGPT's exceptional writing abilities for academic writing and plagiarism.

‘The last few weeks, the hype around ChatGPT has been so crazy. That’s what’s got me thinking about the impact towards teachers and schools.’

As part of his work on AI detection for his thesis, Edward Tian had already spent time contemplating the technology and had a portion of it saved on his laptop.

GPTZero, on the other hand, leverages two metrics to calculate the likelihood that a piece of text was created by AI: perplexity and burstiness. Perplexity measures the degree of randomness in the choice and structure of words within a sentence, while burstiness compares perplexity between sentences. Since ChatGPT works by predicting the most probable next word, the greater the randomness in the sentence construction, both within and across sentences, the more probable it is that the text was written by a human.

Jennifer Rexford, Chair of the Department of Computer Science, provided a statement to the 'Prince' in which she praised Edward Tian's GPTZero program, stating that ‘Tian’s innovative GPTZero application is a wonderful example of Princeton students engaging deeply with both the technical and the social implications of the rapid developments in artificial intelligence.’

Despite receiving multiple inquiries from venture capitalists, Edward Tian has opted against selling his software and, instead, is dedicating his focus towards enhancing it. To that end, he has enlisted the assistance of several recent Princeton alumni with whom he has collaborated before.

On January 15, the group introduced GPTZeroX, which includes several new features, including the capacity to highlight specific phrases or sentences within a text that the program deems potentially AI-generated. In their GPTZero Substack, they alluded to ambitious prospects for the software's future.

‘GPTZero may have started out small, but our plans are certainly not.’

Edward Tian revealed that the team is presently engaged in identifying implicit bias in text generated by AI. ‘Is there something implicit in machine-written articles that human-written articles do not have? We think that there probably is.’

The debut of GPTZero coincided with widespread apprehension about the potential misuse of ChatGPT by students to cheat on their essays and the effects it might have on conventional writing tasks. Consequently, school districts nationwide have restricted access to ChatGPT on school networks and devices. However, Edward Tian is not opposed to advancements in AI, despite these concerns.

‘Everyone should use these new technologies. But it’s important that they’re not misused.’

Edward Tian clarified that his inspiration for developing GPTZero arises from his appreciation for the artistry of writing. 'There should be aspects of human writing that machines can never co-opt,' he remarked.

Princeton student creates ChatGPT detector


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  1. bruh said on August 18, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Uhh, this has already been possible – I am not sure how but remember my brother telling me about it. I’m not a whatsapp user so not sure of the specifics, but something about sending the image as a file and somehow bypassing the default compression settings that are applied to inbound photos.

    He has also used this to share movies to whatsapp groups, and files 1Gb+.

    Like I said, I never used whatsapp, but I know 100% this isn’t a “brand new feature”, my brother literally showed me him doing it, like… 5 months ago?

  2. 💥 said on August 18, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Martin, what happened to those: 12 Comments ( Is there a specific justifiable reason why they were deleted?

    Hmm, it looks like the gHacks website database is faulty, and not populating threads with their relevant cosponsoring posts.

  3. 45 RPM said on August 19, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk that it’s about to be deleted from my ‘daily reads’.

    It’s really like “Press Release as re-written by some d*ck for clicks…poorly.” And the subjects are laughable. Can’t wait for “How to search for files on Windows”.

    1. owl said on August 20, 2023 at 12:51 am

      > The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk…

      Sadly, I have to agree.

      Only Martin and Ashwin are worth subscribing to.
      Especially Emre Çitak and Shaun are the worst ones.

      If intended “Clickbait”, it would mark the end of Ghacks Technology News.
      Ghacks doesn’t need crappy clickbaits. Clearly separate articles from newer authors (perhaps AIs and external sales person or external advertising man) as just “Advertisements”!

      We, the subscribers of Ghacks, urge Martin to make a decision.

  4. chessandonions said on August 20, 2023 at 12:40 am

    because nevermore wants to “monetize” on every aspect of human life…

  5. Frank Rizzo said on August 20, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    “Threads” is like the Walmart of Social Media.

  6. Ashray said on August 21, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    How hard can it be to clone a twitter version of that as well? They’re slow.

  7. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Yes, why not mention how large the HD files can be?
    Why, not mention what version of WhatsApp is needed?
    These omissions make the article feel so bare. If not complete.

    1. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:18 pm

      Sorry posted on the wrong page.

  8. Marc said on August 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    such a long article for such a simple matter. Worthless article ! waste of time

  9. plusminus_ said on August 21, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    I already do this by attaching them via the ‘Document’ option.

  10. John G. said on August 21, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    I don’t know what’s going on here at Ghacks but it’s obvious that something is broken, comments are being mixed whatever the article, I am unable to find some of my later posts neither. :S

  11. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Quoting the article,
    “As users gain popularity, the value of their tokens may increase, allowing investors to reap rewards.”

    Besides, beyond the thrill and privacy risks or not, the point is to know how you gain popularity, be it on social sites as everywhere in life. Is it by being authentic, by remaining faithful to ourselves or is it to have this particular skill which is to understand what a majority likes, just like politicians, those who’d deny to the maximum extent compatible with their ideological partnership, in order to grab as many of the voters they can?

    I see the very concept of this as unhealthy, propagating what is already an increasing flaw : the quest for fame. I won’t be the only one to count himself out, definitely.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:34 pm

      @John G. is right : my comment was posted on [] and it appears there but as well here at []

      This has been lasting for several days. Fix it or at least provide some explanations if you don’t mind.

  12. Tom said on August 24, 2023 at 11:53 am

    > Google Chrome is following in Safari’s footsteps by introducing a new feature that allows users to move the Chrome address bar to the bottom of the screen, enhancing user accessibility and interaction.

    Firefox did this long before Safari.

  13. Mavoy said on September 16, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Basically they’ll do anything except fair royalties.

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