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Are Online AI Checkers Accurate?

By: Cassidy Richey

With the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) systems, there is a renaissance of efficiency among content marketers, writers, lawyers, and practically every profession. People use these systems for various functions, from writing to coding and image manufacturing. With all of these possibilities come an equal number of hesitations and concerns about the integrity of these systems, how AI-written content may congest the internet, the spread of misinformation online, and what it could mean for SEO.

To answer these concerns, many developers, including the same developers of ChatGPT, have created AI checkers to evaluate content and flag anything that may indicate the use of AI behind its creation. While AI checkers address concerns about the logistics of AI-created content, they still need to catch up with their AI brethren. 

How Do AI Checkers Work?

Like AI and NLP systems, AI checkers are trained on a library of human and AI-generated content. Within this data, these systems learn to recognize patterns that may indicate if a piece of content was created with the use of AI. They evaluate these patterns based on how complex the sentence structure and word choice are. The more predictable the sentence structure and word choice, the higher the percentage an AI checker will give in a report.

The Scope and Limitations of AI Checkers

Because AI trains itself on an extensive database of human-created content, it will inherently create content that sounds, well, human. It shares the same qualities and habits all writers do. As a result, AI detectors are more likely to confuse human-written content as AI simply for these shared characteristics, and vice versa.

illustration of four people in a meeting coming up with content ideas

 

As these AI detectors continue to develop, they have become more accurate because they’re better at detecting content written by older AI models. However, AI developers continue to advance their systems, meaning these detectors will always be a step behind, needing more time to analyze these newer models.

Because of these complications, notorious AI detector creators like OpenAI pulled their tools from the public for further optimization. In the future, no one can predict if these AI checkers will evolve. If anything, AI checkers may be more reliable if they’re examining content created by the same data set that created it. For example, OpenAI’s detector might be able to audit content created by ChatGPT reliably.

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Are AI Checkers Accurate?

As of 2024, developers have yet to create an AI checker with a 100% accuracy rate. Most AI checkers today claim they have an accuracy rate within the 90th percentile range, but users’ anecdotal evidence proves this may be an overestimation. In fact, many have uploaded AI-generated content directly into some of these checkers and received zero flags or awareness from the AI checker. 

There are also indications that AI checkers are better at evaluating content made by a less developed AI processing system. For example, one 2023 study found that most AI detection tools, such as OpenAI, GPTZero, CorssPlag, Writer, and Copyleaks, were better at catching AI-created content that was generated by GPT 3.5 than GPT 4.0. Within the same study, though, these checkers gave false positives to human-generated content and vice versa, indicating inaccuracy. 

Because of these inconsistencies, all AI checkers typically provide a disclaimer to users about the need to personally fact-check and edit the piece to fully discern whether AI wrote a piece.

Limitations and Challenges of AI Checkers

Beyond the challenges listed above, AI checkers have also fallen short in specific instances, indicating they’re unsuitable for all contexts. For example, several academic institutions, including Harvard, have found that AI detectors have flagged the writing of non-native English-speaking students more than native English-speaking students. Upon further investigation, researchers found that NLPs like ChatGPT and non-native English writing share similar patterns in their writing: it’s often less complex. As a result, many AI checkers are biased against a large demographic across the globe.

In addition, since AI checkers often store data from reports to train themselves further, developers can’t guarantee that confidential documents will stay safe. As a result, many organizations that work with these kinds of documents have banned the use of AI checkers to keep documents safe.

Even if you’re a native English speaker or you’re creating content that isn’t confidential, don’t implicitly trust AI checker reports.  Instead, use each report as a suggestion to look further into each piece of content. Since AI checkers will often flag phrasing that isn’t complex, see it as a way to make your content more specific, which readers and users often prefer.

Usability and User Experience

If we give credit to AI checkers for anything, it’s that they’re easy to use. They often provide an overall score for the piece and flag phrases they call into question — all in a short time. They can also provide further scrutiny on a piece to which you may not even give a second thought. The more you question the value of a piece of content — whether you fact-check or examine the complexity — the better it will be.

Does Google Care if Your Content Has Been AI Generated?

Regardless of how you use AI checkers or AI-generated content, your ultimate goal shouldn’t necessarily be how you can make your content production schedule more efficient, but rather, how you can make your content favorable in the eyes of Google. 

Google’s Guidelines on AI-Generated Content

As of 2024, Google claims to have a more indifferent stance on the use of AI. If anything, high-quality pieces of user-friendly content will rank higher — no matter if AI or a human creates them. Anything that may be considered low-quality, spam, or generally harmful will be penalized by Google. The recent 2024 update cements this policy further. In it, Google updated the search engine to rank sites that produced a majority of high-quality content and cracked down on sites that produced spam.

Many site owners believe this update overly penalizes their use of AI. However, the update signifies the importance of editing your content to be more useful to your audience. Audiences want well-crafted content, and if you’re using AI unwisely, they may not appreciate it.  

Impact of AI Content on SEO and Rankings

Google understands the usefulness of AI. If you believe you write better with AI, they even encourage you to use it. Based on this advice, they don’t differentiate between AI-generated and human-generated content. Instead, they rank content based on the following high-quality factors, otherwise known as EEAT:

  • Expertise: Is the site or the writer an expert on the subject? They may be an established professional with a title that credits them as such.
  • Experience: Does the writer have experience in the subject? Even personal blog posts may rank high if the writer speaks from personal experience that users may find helpful.
  • Authoritativeness: Is the site a credible source on the subject? These sites are often more notorious among the general public that users will ultimately recognize.
  • Trustworthiness: Did the site and writer do their due diligence in fact-checking and ensuring their writing is factual? Even experts or authoritative sites may produce untrustworthy content and be penalized if they don’t prioritize this factor. 

If you prioritize these factors in your content, Google won’t care about the piece’s origins.

Best Practices for Using AI in Content Creation According to Google

Because of Google’s updated scrutiny on EEAT, you must evaluate your previously published content and the content you plan to create through this lens. You shouldn’t shove aside AI checkers or AI entirely, though. Humans make mistakes. We take longer to develop ideas, may not know the latest inclusive language needs, commit plagiarism unknowingly, and may not catch that pesky comma splice now and then. Although all these factors may seem small, they all add up and may make your content inaccessible to your audience, affecting your site’s ranking. 

Instead, you can have the best of both worlds. You can use AI to compensate for human oversight but still use a nuanced perspective to edit AI’s work. For example, AI can be particularly effective in helping you brainstorm topic ideas for your content, inspiring you to write when you have writer’s block, or even catching common grammatical errors. No matter how you use AI in your content workflow, it’s important to know AI’s habits and how it could potentially affect your ranking. 

For one, always fact-check all of your work. You should do this normally, but you should make the extra effort if you’re using AI, as it has a habit of hallucinating and generating ideas that may not exist. You should also not overly rely on AI. As previously mentioned, it generates writing based on patterns and may seem repetitive or overly simple to your audience. As long as you’re attuned to these habits, you can use AI for good. 

All in all, take AI checkers and AI with a grain of salt. Both of these processing systems are in their infancy stages. They’re not human and can’t provide a human perspective on your content. Most importantly, trust yourself and your judgment when using either of these tools. If you don’t, you can always seek help with your content elsewhere. As long as you prioritize your audience and the overall integrity of your writing, Google and your audience will appreciate your efforts.

illustration of three individuals looking at their seo results

FAQs About AI Checkers and Content Creation

How Accurate Are AI Checkers?

AI checkers are not consistent enough to differentiate between human-written and AI-written content and may often flag human-written content as AI. For the most part, AI checkers evaluate content based on how predictable or complex the language is. The more surface-level or predictable the content, the higher it will score for AI, even if AI didn’t write it.

Can AI Checkers Replace Human Proofreaders?

No, AI checkers are not advanced enough to replace human proofreaders entirely. However, editors and proofreaders can use it along with other plagiarism tools in combination with their own editorial knowledge to improve the quality of a piece of writing. 

Are AI Checkers Safe to Use for Confidential Documents?

Since no one is entirely sure how AI processing systems and AI checkers use data to improve their work, it’s not entirely safe to upload entire confidential documents. Instead, it may be best to use your best judgment and base the text on the merit of the language itself. Fact-check as much as possible as well.

How Do I Choose the Right AI Checker for My Needs?

Not all AI checkers perform the same. Reported top performers include AI Detector Pro, Turnitin.com, and GPTZero. AI Detector Pro is one of the most accurate because it calculates the percentage of potential AI used in a piece of content based on patterns in the piece, which all AI-written content has. Academic organizations use Turnitin, but it has a fee associated with it. GPTZero is one of the most accurate for tracing ChatGPT-written content, but is limited in evaluating other NLP-written content. 

Do AI Checkers Work in Multiple Languages?

NLPs and other processors train themselves on a data set that is, for the most part, English. As such, AI checkers aren’t as capable of flagging foreign languages.

Can AI Checkers Help Improve My Writing Skills?

AI checkers can help illuminate areas or deficiencies in your writing that AI is often capable of doing as well, such as passive language, non-specific and abstract language, and lack of evidence to support your content. By highlighting these deficiencies, even if you didn’t use AI, you can correct them regardless to improve your writing skills.

What Are the Common Misconceptions About AI Checkers?

AI checkers aren’t entirely reliable for flagging or catching AI-written content and often provide false positives to human-written content. You shouldn’t discredit it entirely, as it can direct you toward fixing incorrect writing habits or even areas of potential plagiarism.

How Much Do AI Checkers Cost?

Most AI checkers will offer free and paid versions of the software. For example, AI Detector Pro has a free version, but you can only do three reports a month, which contrasts with the unlimited plan, which costs $25 per month and allows you to upload unlimited documents per month. 

How Often Do AI Checkers Update Their Algorithms?

Since NLP and AI systems constantly train themselves on new data, AI checker developers try to keep up with the pace by updating monthly.

Can AI Checkers Detect Plagiarism Accurately?

Since NLPs and other AI processing systems use a library of data, it is possible that they will regenerate information that’s already been published online and show up as plagiarism according to plagiarism and AI checkers. However, they aren’t to be trusted entirely since they will often flag false-positive information.

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