US professor 'fails half his class' after ChatGPT incorrectly claims it wrote their essays

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Students at a Texas university have been "temporarily denied their diplomas" after their lecturer allegedly accused them of using AI to write their essays, a Reddit user has claimed.

As shown in what appears to be a screenshot of an email sent to students, the professor asked AI tool ChatGPT whether it had written his class' essays and the chatbot responded that it had.

The incident has caused an outcry on social media, after Reddit user DearKick shared a screenshot of an email sent to the students from the professor and updates from the university.

DearKick, who told Rolling Stone he is the fiancé of one of the students who failed, says his partner had never heard of ChatGPT and was baffled by the accusation.

He told the magazine: “She feels even worse considering it’s something she knows nothing about.”

She immediately “reached out to the dean and CCd the president of the university,” DearKick claims.

When she did get an immediate reply she went to plead her case with administrators in person on Tuesday. 

People on Reddit were quick to defend the students in the comments thread under the post.

They even found the teacher's PHD work and ran it through ChatGPT. The site claimed it could have been written by an AI tool too, responding “yes, the passage you shared could indeed have been generated by a language model like ChatGPT, given the right prompt.”

In an email supposedly sent to students, the lecturer said: “I copy and paste your responses in [ChatGPT] and [it] will tell me if the programme generated the content,” the email appears to show wrote.

He seemingly said he had tested each of the student's three papers twice.

However ChatGPT is not made to detect material composed by AI or even material produced by itself and will very likely claim it has written texts when asked.

In a statement to PC Magazine, Texas A&M University confirmed they were aware of the incident and sorting through the facts.

“No students failed the class or were barred from graduating as a result of this issue,” the university said.

“The professor is working with the students to determine whether AI was used to write their assignments and, if so, at what level.”

The diplomas, however, will remain on hold until individual investigations are completed, it is understood.

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