Princeton senior’s app is fighting back against ChatGPT

by WorldTribune Staff, February 15, 2023

Edward Tian, a 22-year-old senior at Princeton University, has been working feverishly on a new app to combat what he and many others see as the abuse and misuse of ChatGPT.

By its own description, ChatGPT is “an AI-powered chatbot developed by OpenAI, based on the GPT (Generative Pretrained Transformer) language.”

Edward Tian

Andy Greenaway, the creative director at Rumble, noted in a LinkedIn post that “when OpenAI released ChatGPT to the public for free, it caused a stir, and students all over the world quickly cottoned onto the idea of getting AI to write their essays, dissertations and other scholarly assignments.”

While working at Princeton’s Natural Language Processing Lab over the last few years, Tian has been researching how to detect text written by AI.

“Despite being well versed in AI, Tian was astounded by the power of ChatGPT,” Greenaway noted. “The bewilderment quickly turned to alarm. How many jobs will this kill? How will this disrupt our education system? What is the point of learning to write essays at school when AI, which is expected to get exponentially better in the near future, can do that for us?”

In just three days, Tian was able to create a new app, GPTZero. The app uses ChatGPT against itself, checking whether “there’s zero involvement or a lot of involvement” by the AI.

“Tian released his app to the world and went to bed, not expecting much reaction to it,” Greenaway noted. “But when Tian woke up, his phone had exploded (figuratively, of course). He saw countless DMs from journalists, principals, teachers and investors from places as far away as Europe. His app became so popular it crashed the platform it was being hosted on.”

“Humans deserve to know when something is written by a human or written by a machine,” Tian said.

One application for GPTZero is to help teachers identify whether their students are plagiarizing their essays from AI.

“There is no stopping AI, that’s for sure,” Greenaway wrote. “But it does present some interesting quandaries. If children don’t have to develop critical thinking skills — and leave it to AI — will we become a dumber species? More worrying, will we become so reliant on AI, (because it will surely take over everything in time) that we will not know how to do anything for ourselves? Are we setting ourselves up to being ‘ruled’ by machines? Films like The Matrix and Terminator are science fiction. But we could be moving one step closer to a world where those ideas become a reality.”

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