Skip to content

The problem is Ghostwriting, not generative AI

What is the difference between a student paying money to a human ghostwriter or prompting an AI if the purpose is to use the text in an essay? We consider both ghostwriting, as it does not matter if the author is human or AI. In both cases, the text is not original student work, therefore violating basic academic integrity principles.

Skjermbilde 2024-02-19 kl. 23.11.15

Although most universities have guidelines that encourage students to use AI in their learning process, as they would in any daily life, it is very unlikely that any university will accept direct AI writing without this being referred to as a quote. The situation does not change if the AI text is simply paraphrased by the student, as it is still someone else’s work. Whether someone else is an AI, a fellow student, or a professional essay mill, the fundamental principle remains consistent: it is not original student work.

Commercial Ghostwriting exploding, even before ChatGPT

A paper from 2018 reviewing 65 studies spanning from 1978 to 2014 revealed an escalation in commercial contract cheating from a historical average of 3.5% to 15.7% by 2014* .

Perhaps the historical average was somewhat within an "acceptable" threshold, so measures to detect ghostwriting were not developed. However, the stark increase to 15,7% undoubtedly surpasses any reasonable notion of acceptability and shows that it can unfortunately not be left to students' ethical consciousness to maintain academic standards.


*Philip M. Newton, Swansea University Medical School (2018). How Common Is Commercial Contract Cheating in Higher Education and Is It Increasing? A Systematic Review.*

If we solve the problem with Ghostwriting, we also solve the dishonest use of AI.

ChatGPT can be misused as a ghostwriter, as it is free, readily available, and proficiently comparable to human capabilities. ChatGPT could be a massive amplifier of the problem where students get someone else to write the text (ghostwriting by AI). For this reason, many are genuinely concerned that AI writing can escalate academic dishonesty if there is no reliable method to mitigate it.

Nor.Education has developed a novel method to help schools and universities verify original student writing, thereby discovering ghostwriting by ChatGPT or any other generative AI service. This is not an AI detector, as rather than detecting the ghostwriter (ex. ChatGPT), we pivot towards validating the authenticity of the student. Simply looking for "YOU" - are teachers assessing the student's authentic work or assessing someone else’s work?

Read more about our solution in our other blog posts or at our website