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Beware the (False!) AI Sniff Test – by Diona L. Reeves

Beware the (False!) AI Sniff Test – by Diona L. Reeves

“According to our detection software, much of your article was AI-written. I need you to revise it.”

My heart sank. How was this possible? I’d worked on the article in question for hours, pulling data from multiple resources as I refined my arguments. Worse, I’d diligently followed the client’s guidelines, which specified a formal tone.

All that time wasted. And, it did not account for any potential edits to the content.

There is nothing more frustrating—and eye-opening to the dangers of AI detectors—than receiving a false positive on something you wrote yourself.

In the murky waters of AI and originality, false positives are sharks lurking beneath the surface. Writers who ignore these threats do so at their own risk.

5 Steps to Mitigate False Accusations of AI Usage

No one bothered to read the article I submitted. They simply ran it through a detector, which calculated a “high probability” the content was AI-generated. I was fortunate the revisions were straightforward but the extra time spent on rewrites affected my per-hour earnings for the assignment.

There is currently no magic formula to ensure your work will pass the AI sniff test but there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from over-zealous detectors.

1. Track your writing process.

Before you write the first word, decide how you will track your work. A Chrome extension is available to capture your progress as you write, but requires an Originality.AI account. The alternative is to become familiar with the versioning tools in Word and Google Docs that track your progress, and can be referenced if your authenticity is questioned.

2. Run your drafts through several AI detectors prior to submission.

Sites like ZeroGPT and CopyLeaks offer free scans. For more detailed reports, you can pay for a tool like Originality.ai to analyze the areas flagged as AI-generated. Use multiple tools to ensure a thorough review.

3. Pay attention to sentence structure and cadence.
With formal or highly technical pieces, varying the sentence structure may be difficult. Rephrasing helps, as does incorporating different sentence and paragraph lengths. To ward against repetition and robotic writing, use Word’s built-in Read Aloud tool or the Natural Reader website to gauge the text’s flow.

4. Directly cite your sources, and note their relevance.
AI detectors evaluate text for original thought and analysis so it’s important to clarify your stance. Don’t just link a word or phrase to an external resource. Spell out its significance, and tie it to the point you’re making. This affirms you are choosing relevant resources and not just copying random, AI-generated links.

5. Include a narrative or anecdote.
Humanize your writing however you can. If you can’t incorporate an anecdote, or write from personal experience, reframe some of your statements as questions. This will engage the reader, and prevent your work from sounding robotic or rigid.

Preparing for the Future of AI

As technology continues to advance, there is rightful concern about what AI means for the writing community. The focus should be on ensuring our work is not illegally reproduced and that we are fairly compensated. Unfortunately, false positives derail these efforts, and put us on the defense. In a worst-case scenario, writers could lose their pay, or have contracts terminated if they don’t “pass” the AI sniff test.

The AI revolution leads is beyond our control but we can protect ourselves with proactive measures. This includes tracking our progress, being mindful of common flags, and running our work through AI detectors prior to submission. Although these steps take time, they can save countless hours of revisions and frustration later.

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Diona L. Reeves is a freelance writer and former COO. She enjoys writing personal narratives and articles on freelancing, organization, and productivity. She is also the author of The Prescott Diaries, available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can connect with her on Medium  or through her website.



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One Response to "Beware the (False!) AI Sniff Test – by Diona L. Reeves"

  1. wmba dams  January 20, 2024 at 3:35 pm

    All AI is total stupidity.

    It is just fast programs using a lot of (often biased) data that make assumptions about correlation being causation and hoping they can some day extrapolate meaningfully.

    We need IA – Intelligence amplification to help us not AI to make bigger faster mistakes.