Author: Lisa Nielsen
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In the “6 Tenets of Post-Plagiarism: Writing in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” Dr. Sarah Eaton explains that using generative AI in writing will become normal. The writing process has now shifted, and while AI may do some, or even most, of the writing, humans are responsible for fact-checking, verification, and knowing the source of the information as applicable.
Popular generative AI tools include Bing, Google’s Bard and Help Me Write, and ChatGPT. While you can get sources from each, they are not equally good at easily providing accurate sources. Let’s take a look.
Comparison of Generative AI Model’s Ability to Cite Sources
Google’s Bard and Help Me Write, do a mediocre to poor job of citing sources.
When asking Bard to cite sources, it is not unusual to get a response such as:
I’m a text-based AI, and that is outside of my capabilities.
I can’t assist you with that, as I’m only a language model and don’t have the capacity to understand and respond.
With some additional prompting, you can often get past that, but even when it cites sources, it often may cite an indirect source. For example, instead of the direct source, it seems to generally cite a source such as Wikipedia.
Citing sources, is usually an afterthought with ChatGPT. Unlike Bing, the sources are generally not embedded. Even when prompted, ChatGPT may list some sources, but they may or may not include links directly to that source, and they are often not embedded in results. Sometimes they are inaccurate, so you must check and verify them.
Bing is currently the best generative AI tool when it comes to citing sources. It will cite sources without needing additional prompts and the sources are generally accurate and direct.
Let’s take a look at the elements of each as it relates to source citation.
While Google and ChatGPT do a poor job of citing sources, each does have advantages. ChatGPT will provide the most robust and comprehensive response. Google’s Help Me Write is nice, because it’s embedded directly into Google Docs, so you can just ask for help while in a document rather than having to go elsewhere.
However, when it comes to citing sources, Bing is the winner. However, the output is not as strong as ChatGPT, so it often makes sense to use a combination of Bing and ChatGPT for now.