How to detect AI-generated content

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These days artificial intelligence is being used by organizations to produce everything from blog articles to videos. In fact, 76% of marketers are using generative AI for crafting content and drafting compelling copy. While there’s no doubt that AI-generated content is fast to produce, cost-effective, and a useful starting point for content creators, AI usage is now so ubiquitous in the production of content that for reasons of authenticity and credibility it’s become crucial that we are able to detect it.

The detection of AI-generated content has other benefits too. Understanding the source of a piece of content helps an organization to better align it with its values and ensure it resonates with its readers. It can additionally help teams address any bias or factual inaccuracies and ensure an optimal reading experience for users that builds and maintains trust with a brand.

In this article, we want to take a look at how you can detect AI-generated content and offer you some simple steps for using AI content creation tools that will improve and humanize your content and help you stand apart from the competition.

What do we mean by AI-generated content?

AI-generated content refers to text, images, video, or any other media that has been created by artificial intelligence rather than crafted by humans. While the range of content types that AI can generate is expanding all the time, typical examples of what the technology can produce right now include articles, social media captions, code snippets, and even music and artwork. Already, AI-generated content is supporting industries such as software development, marketing, design, journalism, entertainment, translation, administration, and education thanks to the high quality of the output that AI tools can, with sufficient training, produce.

The algorithms which AI runs off are primarily driven by natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) technologies. These tools can effectively generate sophisticated responses to inputted requests by working from patterns learned from large datasets. The AI learns to generate new content by analyzing the relationships and structures within training data and recognizing and replicating patterns. In the case of text generation, for example, AI works from the patterns it has already learned from training materials to produce text that is both stylistically and structurally similar.

Signs of AI-generated content

These are some of the tell-tale signs that a piece of content has been created using AI.

Accuracy

AI-generated content has come on leaps and bounds over the past few years but it still cannot guarantee 100% accuracy. When factual errors, misinterpreted context, and outdated information are regularly appearing within content, it’s a clear sign that it’s likely to have been generated by artificial intelligence rather than by a human. In fact, some AI content generators such as OpenAI ChatGPT, say so themselves with an on-screen disclaimer that prompt responses may produce inaccuracies. For this reason alone, it’s crucial to implement an AI-human workflow, ensuring that a professional editor always fact-checks AI-generated content against reputable, verified sources.

Tone and style

While AI algorithms can effectively learn the tone and style of a writer when trained on that writer’s materials, the content that it produces can still sometimes lack the nuance or subtlety that a human writer brings to the table. Indeed, while a human writer will vary the tone and style throughout a piece of content as required by the subject matter and context, AI-generated content tends to read a little more flat.

When generating longer articles, AI models can also struggle to maintain a consistent voice throughout, with shifts in tone making it less smooth and enjoyable for readers. Although these issues immediately flag up that a piece of content is generated by AI, they are easily fixed with training on specific materials and a human editor to make tone and style adjustments.

Lack of personality, opinion, or emotional depth

It’s unsurprising that AI-generated content sometimes misses the personality that a human writer naturally incorporates into text, with a lack of emotional depth, humor, or strong opinions often flagged up by readers. The downside of AI’s struggle to convey complex emotions, empathy, or even subjective viewpoints is that it can leave the content feeling dry and unengaging, leading audiences to turn instead to content that they can really relate to and connect with.

For this reason, humanizing AI content is a high priority for many content marketing teams. By following simple steps such as fine-tuning AI prompts, including personal anecdotes, using emotional language, and repurposing human-generated content with AI, marketers can more effectively bolster trust and engagement with audiences.

Repetition

Repetition of ideas, vocabulary, expression, and phrases is another common sign of AI-generated content, with the same points sometimes reiterated several times in one piece or similar sentence structures employed paragraph after paragraph. This lack of variation in style and content comes about when an algorithm reuses similar structures from the training data it has learned from, resulting in a monotonous output that can be off-putting for readers. Spending time training AI tools on large datasets can help to solve this issue, as does implementing an AI-human workflow with professional editors who can catch repetitions and ensure the text is varied and engaging.

Top tools for detecting AI-generated content

These are some of the leading tools in AI content detection.

Winston AI

Popular AI-generated content detector, Winston AI, boasts a 99.98% accuracy rate in the detection of so-called “synthetic” content, with results taking just seconds to come through. The tool supports the detection of many major LLMs (learning language models) and is continually being updated to ensure it stays ahead of developments in this rapidly-evolving field. Supporting educators, content producers, and SEO teams in identifying AI-created content, the tool is an industry leader thanks to its simple implementation, user-centric interface, affordable pricing, and in-built plagiarism checker.

Originality AI

Designed with web professionals and agencies in mind, the AI content detector Originality AI shows users the ratio of a text written by a human and the ratio written by AI. In addition to AI detection, the tool includes a plagiarism checker, a readability checker, and a fact checker, enabling website owners, marketers, writers, and publishers to be able to guarantee that they are publishing high-quality, original, and completely authentic work.

GPTZero

GPTZero is an AI detector that seeks to identify text that has been generated by LLM’s such as ChatGPT. The detector has been trained on millions of documents covering a range of domains and industries, from science writing to creative writing, and is verified by multiple reputable sources. This particular AI detector is particularly well suited to those working in education, as the model has been fine-tuned for academic prose.

Sapling AI Detector

Offering free and paid plans, Sapling is a tool that has been created to detect machine-generated content by a range of AI text generators. The free version of the tool allows users to test the authenticity of up to 5,000 characters and get access to a Microsoft Word integration and a Chrome browser extension, bolstering its ease of use.

Writer.com AI Content Detector

Writer.com’s AI Content Detector is a free-to-use AI text detection tool that does not require user registration to access. Instead, users simply paste the text that they would like to test (limited to 5,000 characters) into a box on the website, or type the URL of a website that they are reviewing into the URL box provided, and the detector will instantaneously reveal the amount of AI-generated content that has been used in the text.

Copyleaks

Helping users to identify AI-based plagiarism and AI content, Copyleaks offers AI-based text analysis to support the protection of original content. The platform offers a suite of tools including an AI Content Detector, an AI Plagiarism Detector, Codeleaks (detecting source code plagiarism), and a range of writing and grading tools. While the website offers pricing plans for different levels of access, the main function of the AI detector is free of charge. Users can paste text into the detector and receive a simple statement regarding whether it was generated by a human or an AI language learning model.

How to fine-tune AI-generated content

Here are some simple steps to improving AI-generated content and getting the output that you need.

Fine-tune AI prompts

Getting your prompts right is key to harnessing the full potential of AI content generators and enables you to produce text that is not just accurate and relevant, but that will engage, inspire, and inform your readers in a way that sounds natural and authentic.

Fine-tuning your AI prompts involves the following stages:

  1. Having a clearly defined purpose for the content before you start;

  2. Designing prompts that are both detailed and specific, avoiding vague language or broad terminology;

  3. Experimenting with different versions of the prompt and refining the language based on the outcomes;

  4. Providing examples where possible to help inform tone and style;

  5. Including specific instructions or constraints;

  6. Continuously evaluating the content for any bias or errors and adjusting the prompts when these occur.

Repurpose existing content with AI

Rather than starting from scratch with content creation, AI tools provide teams with a great opportunity to repurpose existing content. Content generators such as Smartcat AI Content Generator and GenAI Learning Content repurpose existing human-produced content and transform them into fresh assets and materials such as learning courses, blog posts, ebooks, or even video scripts. By repurposing existing content, AI tools can more effectively craft human-sounding content because the tool already has the style, terminology, and tone of voice from the outset, enabling users to retain the human authenticity of the original content in its new form and make their existing content go further.

Train the AI to better match your voice

To keep your content consistent with your brand and familiar to users it’s important to spend time training the AI to match your voice. You can do this by gathering data for the tool to work from that you feel is a good representation of your voice, tone, language, and vocabulary, incorporating a style guide or required terminology into the AI engine prompts, creating specific voice-related prompts, and by closely evaluating the output and making adjustments until it feels like a good match. Tools such as Smartcat AI learns from your team’s edits, which means the accuracy of a voice match improves with every use.

Use human editors and reviewers

Establishing an AI-human workflow is crucial to the success of all AI content generator usage. Until AI-generated text is completely error-free, human subject matter experts, proofreaders, and editors are needed to verify factual accuracy, maintain consistency of tone and style, and guard against repetition. However, AI technology can also support teams looking for reliable and qualified subject matter expert reviewers, with platforms like the Smartcat Marketplace using an AI matching algorithm to source the professional that is the best match for each user’s editorial or language needs.

Keep your content authentic and human with AI

As we have seen, even without AI-detection software, users are becoming pretty savvy at recognizing content that has been generated solely by AI. While AI-generated content is improving all the time, issues such as factual inaccuracies, repetition, inconsistent tone, and a lack of personality can still creep in, leading to reader disengagement and the erosion of trust. However, these challenges don't mean that we should abandon AI altogether. By fine-tuning AI prompts, repurposing existing human-produced content, training AI on more data, and implementing AI-human workflows, AI tools can help teams produce accurate and compelling text that engages, informs, and entertains readers and turns them into loyal users of a brand.

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