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Artificial Intelligence: Challenges and Opportunities

Turnitin's AI Detection Tool

As of April 4, 2023, Turnitin now includes an experimental AI detection tool in its originality checking service.

Things to Know:

  • This tool is experimental; it has been released in a “preview phase” and it will be throughout the remainder of 2023.
  • Any school that uses Turnitin is part of the testing process, contributing to the data that determines the reliability and validity of the tool.  At this time, the AI detection tool cannot be turned off; its use is automatically included with any similarity checking.
  • There is a big difference between the similarity score and the AI detection score.
  • At this time, students do not have access to the AI detection score.


Due to the experimental nature of the new feature, instructors are cautioned to not to rely on the AI detection score alone as evidence for academic misconduct until further use and testing is completed. 

The AI writing detection feature will be offered to institutions as an additional product after 2023. Over the course of the year, CGI will evaluate this and other tools to determine the feasibility of offering AI detection services. 

Similarity Score versus AI Detection Score

The Similarity score and the AI writing detection percentage are completely independent and do not influence each other.

The Similarity score indicates the percentage of matching-text found in the submitted document when compared to Turnitin's comprehensive collection of content for similarity checking.  The similarity score and resulting report is available to students.

The AI writing detection score indicates the percentage of text that has been determined to be generated by AI.  The AI detection score and resulting report is available to instructors only.

What the AI Detection Score Report Looks Like

Sample AI Detection score page

When instructors access the AI report (example above), they see an AI score, the submitted document with highlighted text, and links to Turnitin AI support resources:

[1] The AI score (or indicator) shows the overall percentage of the document that may have been generated by AI writing tools.

[2] A link to an FAQ page provides instructors additional information on how the detection model works.

[3] Highlighted text in the submitted document indicates the sections predicted to be AI-generated.

[4] Links to additional pedagogical resources are included to support educators using the AI writing detection indicator.

[5] A disclaimer reminds the instructor that the evaluation may not be accurate.


Until CGI is able to fully test the new feature and provide more information on its use at CGI, we encourage instructors to review the following resources from Turnitin:

Chat GPT's Opinion

I asked Chat GPT what it thought about Turnitin's AI detection capabilities, and here's what it had to say:

Query:  How does Turnitin detect use of Chat GPT?

Chat GPT responded with the following:

As an AI language model, I do not have direct access to Turnitin's detection methods, as it is a proprietary system. However, Turnitin uses advanced algorithms and techniques to detect potential plagiarism in documents, including the use of AI and machine learning.

When it comes to detecting the use of Chat GPT, Turnitin may employ several approaches, which could include:

  1. Textual patterns: Turnitin may have a database of known patterns or signatures of text generated by Chat GPT or similar language models. These patterns could include unique phrasings, sentence structures, or common phrases that are associated with the output of AI language models.

  2. Metadata analysis: Turnitin may analyze metadata associated with the document, such as the author information, file properties, and timestamps, to identify if it was likely generated using an AI language model.

  3. Comparative analysis: Turnitin may compare the submitted document against a large database of other documents, including publicly available text on the internet, to identify potential matches or similarities that indicate the use of AI-generated content.

  4. Linguistic analysis: Turnitin may analyze the language used in the document to identify any anomalies or inconsistencies that could indicate the use of an AI language model. This could include detecting language patterns, grammar errors, or other linguistic clues that are commonly associated with AI-generated content.

It's important to note that Turnitin's detection methods may evolve over time as technology advances, and they may not disclose their exact techniques to protect the integrity of their system. As such, the effectiveness of Turnitin's detection of Chat GPT or other AI-generated content may vary, and it's always best to follow academic integrity guidelines and avoid submitting any work that is not original and properly cited.

(OpenAI, personal communication, April 6, 2023)