ChatGPT usage ignites plagiarism debate

By Minh Hoang   March 16, 2023 | 08:34 pm PT
ChatGPT usage ignites plagiarism debate
A response by ChatGPT, an AI chatbot developed by OpenAI, is seen on its website in this illustration picture taken February 9, 2023. Photo by Reuters/Florence Lo
Several freelance content creators have been accused of plagiarizing, or their works “lacking creativity” for utilizing ChatGPT, with some clients even refusing them payments.

Bui Thuy Trang, 23, said she had her pay cut by half by a client after they learned she had used ChatGPT to write advertising copy.

The content advertiser to an international platform in Hanoi said the AI language model is a useful tool for content creators, helping them come up with marketing ideas in multiple fields.

She said a foreign client asked her if she had used ChatGPT to create an outline for its product, she said yes, and the client told her she had plagiarized and did not deserve to be paid. After discussing back and forth, she managed to get her client to pay 50%.

She only used ChatGPT as a support tool to collect information, but was branded as a plagiarist, she said.

"Luckily, the platform has policies to protect freelancers, and so I managed to get half the money."

Son Bach, 28, of Binh Dinh, who makes a living by writing scripts for clients on YouTube, said he has been in similar situations.

"I was once denied payment for a script written based on suggestions by ChatGPT."

Hung Thang, a big data engineer at the Titus Research Institute in Germany, said people being refused payment for work done by using ChatGPT is not uncommon in Germany.

"Clients want to have content with high levels of creativity, and traditionalists are not satisfied if they know that someone they hired used ChatGPT. They have the right to reject the end product if prior agreements do not include the use of AI."

AI tools can also make up information that is not real, or even infringe on copyright, Thang said.

Because AI chatbots rely on databases, they can give out information that are inaccurate, he added.

Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera, said tools like ChatGPT can assist with multiple tasks. But for tasks which require a high level of expertise, it should only be used as a reference, he added.

Alex Lawrence, a professor at the Weber State University, said AI chatbots are some of the most dangerous tools due to their capabilities for plagiarism.

Many companies and organizations are worried that the use of ChatGPT could lead to people slacking off on creative effort.

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