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Why AI detectors think the US Constitution was written by AI

Enlarge / An AI-generated image of James Madison writing the US Constitution using AI. (credit: Midjourney / Benj Edwards)

If you feed America’s most important legal document—the US Constitution—into a tool designed to detect text written by AI models like ChatGPT, it will tell you that the document was almost certainly written by AI. But unless James Madison was a time traveler, that can’t be the case. Why do AI writing detection tools give false positives? We spoke to several experts—and the creator of AI writing detector GPTZero—to find out.

Among news stories of overzealous professors flunking an entire class due to the suspicion of AI writing tool use and kids falsely accused of using ChatGPT, generative AI has education in a tizzy. Some think it represents an existential crisis. Teachers relying on educational methods developed over the past century have been scrambling for ways to keep the status quo—the tradition of relying on the essay as a tool to gauge student mastery of a topic.

As tempting as it is to rely on AI tools to detect AI-generated writing, evidence so far has shown that they are not reliable. Due to false positives, AI writing detectors such as GPTZero, ZeroGPT, and OpenAI’s Text Classifier cannot be trusted to detect text composed by large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT.

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