AI In The Perennial Problem Of Authorship Verification: From Shakespeare to Contract Cheating

AI Authorship Verification

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By Yuliya Gorenko, Unicheck

Do you remember the school days of reading Shakespeare, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players”? There is evidence to believe that Shakespeare was playing the role of writer very well, perhaps beyond his actual skill. Some say his work —or at least a big chunk of it— was not authentic. He might even had the help of Queen Elizabeth herself. Literary analysts, who suspected that there was another author, were able to detect similarities in Shakespeare playwriting to the compositions of John Fletcher. How? By leveraging machine learning tools. 

Educational institutions are welcoming Machine Learning tools to aid in academic integrity 

Machine learning tools are becoming a teacher’s best friend and instilling confidence among institutions who are exhausted in their attempts to abolish plagiarism. As the availability of online resources continues to grow, educators have to work even harder to ensure authenticity in the works of students. However, modern technology can now identify specific writing features that detect familiar styles.

The pressure of beating deadlines or not fully comprehending the materials can force students to compromise their academic integrity by choosing easy outs like contract cheating.

Contract cheating is a sophisticated way to cheat that easily appeals to an anxious student wanting to cut corners. As a result, it is becoming harder and harder for instructors to sustain honesty in the classroom. While educational institutions are doing all they can to discourage plagiarism, it can be overwhelming to keep up with and cause teachers to feel they are not truly influencing the students in producing original works. They feel torn between grading the bulk of incoming papers, and guiding the students to find their own voice.

How AI-based authorship verification is helping fight plagiarism 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) based authorship verification tools can help teachers and institutions fight the challenges of copied works. While relatively new, many of them have progressed quickly in a short time. An example is our own “Emma,” the system developed at Unicheck. Part of the artificial intelligence-based plagiarism checker solution chosen as the best “paid-for” Moodle plugin in 2019 by LMSPulse readers, tools like ours makes the process of testing originality easier every day.

Emma utilizes Natural Language Processing (NLP) and stylometry techniques. It only requires three completed works and 3,000 words from the student to learn everything there is to know about their writing style. Once it has “memorized” the student’s style, it will compare all the forthcoming works against the outcome. This way, by analyzing the text and categorizing it into linguistics and stylistic silos, the tool suggests whether the works were written by the same author.

Academic integrity is no longer at stake. For now

Instructors and administrators can now find a “breath of fresh air” by leveraging AI-based authorship verification tools. They no longer have to feel overwhelmed by machine learning tools, as they are easy to adopt and the user-friendly application allows for seamless implementation. This gives teachers the freedom to truly assist their students in developing a unique writing style, while encouraging them to apply the additional effort it takes to succeed.

Artificial intelligence now is an important piece of the puzzle that goes towards the picture of better education worldwide. In terms of academic integrity, whether you are Shakespeare composing poetic plays, a student wanting to express new ideas in writing, or an educator pushing for it, AI is partnering with you to ensure authenticity is not at stake.

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