With smartwatches and essay writing companies like EssayShark, cheating has never been easier. Students can carry test answers on their wrist and hire writers on the other side of the globe to create research papers for them. But now, they can plagiarize their essays using artificial intelligence (AI). How exactly does the AI-generated research paper work?
A New Way of Cheating
EssaySoft is an AI-based program that can quickly generate essays with just the prompting of a few words, a little bit of patience, and the click of a button.
While users must pay for a subscription for access to a complete essay, those without one can get a glimpse of EssaySoft’s services by trying out the essay generator for free. For instance, when using the prompt “guilt in Macbeth,” the program produced the following sample: “For example, Macbeth is visited by the ghost of Banquo, whom he murdered to protect his secret. A close read of the play suggests that the apparition is the embodiment of Macbeth’s guilt, which is why he nearly reveals the truth about King Duncan’s murder.”
EssaySoft subscribers can also dictate the number of words and depth of research that goes into their papers. For faster results, users can select a low level of research. For more sophisticated papers, users can choose between a medium or high research level, these essays will just take a little more time to generate. Prices for the various levels are the same.
None of these AI-generated research papers are top-notch work. Even so, the likelihood of submitting one and receiving a passing grade remains high, right?
Essay writing service reviewers suggest otherwise.
According to Essay Origin Review, EssaySoft is just too good to be true. The site gave EssaySoft a 2.7 out of 10, calling the program an “inefficient automated system that is designed to create a ruse and scam people.” It found EssaySoft’s AI-generated papers contain heavy levels of plagiarism. They also discovered that the company will refuse to refund users who confront the company about the high levels of plagiarism in their papers.
In colleges and universities, plagiarism is considered a serious offense. Students who violate their school’s policy of academic integrity are not only at risk of receiving a bad grade, but suspension or expulsion.
To bypass this possibility, EssaySoft also offers another service that’s potentially plagiarism-free. Unlike the “Essay Generator,” the “Essay Rewriter” doesn’t seemingly pull text out of thin air. Rather, it takes an existing chunk of text inputted by the user and replaces the operative words with synonyms. The resulting sentences may be clunky and awkward, but still understandable.
Other “article spinners” like EssaySoft’s “Essay Rewriter” are available for use online for free.
A New Way of Learning?
Not all educators see essay generators as a threat to academic integrity. Teacher and host of Honest Teacher Podcast Mike Espinos told Medium he believes essay generators and programs like the GPT-2 — a language model that uses few words to generate text — can update our outdated system of education.
Espinos thinks even though students may not be fully writing the essay themselves, using GPT-2 to do it still forces them to identify critical components of the material they’ve learned. He also thinks integrating GPT-2 into the education system can eliminate learning demands that the age of instant, digital information has rendered unnecessary and irrelevant.
“In school, we still ask students to memorize and recite facts. This is an obsolete practice that needs to be eliminated,” Espinos told Medium. “We live in a world of constant information and it is more important to develop the skills of learning how to parse that information to find useful parts, discard false information, and apply the information to the task at hand.”
While it may be true that the nature of our digital age devalues the ability to memorize information, others still doubt the quality of work that essay generators and language models produce. In the end, students may have completed a homework assignment, but will have lost out on a learning experience and, ultimately, delivered substandard work.