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Introduction to generative AI concepts and tools

Is Using Chat GPT considered plagiarism?

With some of the new AI tools being developed a common question students have is whether using ChatGPT to create content is plagiarism.  We asked ChatGPT that very question.

Question prompt: 

There is a lot of discussion about how people should interact with chat AI technology and whether answers they give should be considered plagiarism or not. What is your view on this?

ChatGPT Answer:

As an AI language model, I do not have personal views or beliefs. However, I can provide some context and information on the topic of whether using answers generated by chat AI technology constitutes plagiarism.

Plagiarism is defined as the act of using someone else's work or ideas without giving proper credit or attribution. In the case of using answers generated by chat AI technology, it can be argued that it is not plagiarism because the answers are not the work of a single individual, but rather the result of a complex algorithm that draws from a vast amount of data and sources.

However, it is important to note that using chat AI technology to generate answers without proper citation or attribution could still be considered unethical or academically dishonest, particularly if the user is trying to pass off the answers as their own original work. In academic settings, it is generally expected that students and researchers provide proper citation and attribution for any sources they use, whether those sources are generated by chat AI technology or not.

Some scholars might argue with ChatGPT's hypothesis that since the answers it creates are not the work of a single individual, using those answers might not be plagiarism.  While using answers generated by an AI natural language processing tool like ChatGPT may not be theft in the way plagiarism is often described, if used without transparent source information, it does fit another definition of plagiarism, that is of intentional or careless lack of acknowledging one's sources.

What does this mean for student researchers?

Per USF Policy, the use of any tool or assistive technology for the completion of coursework must be authorized by your instructor first.  If you choose to use ChatGPT or some other generative AI technology for writing, be sure you are transparent about your use of it with your teachers. Some faculty may indicate in their syllabus that they are either comfortable or not with in-class AI usage. Additionally, each citation style has different recommendations for citing generative AI tools like ChatGPT.  See our page on Citing Generative AI tools for more details.

Ultimately, the ethical use of chat AI technology depends on the context in which it is being used and the expectations of the individuals or organizations involved. It is important for users to understand the potential implications of using chat AI technology and to approach its use with honesty and integrity.