A programme which uses AI and big data – pioneered by researchers at the University of Copenhagen – can pinpoint academic cheaters and criminals.

Called Ghostwriter, it scored a 90% accuracy rating in detecting assignments penned by someone other than the author – based on the analysis of ‘130,000 written Danish assignments’.

“It identifies discrepancies in writing styles by comparing recently submitted writing against a student’s previously submitted work. Among other variables, the program looks at: word length, sentence structure and how words are used. For instance, whether ‘for example’ is written as ‘ex.’ or ‘e.g.’,” said PhD student Stephan Lorenzen of the Department of Computer Science.

In addition to high schools and other education institutions, the team points to its potential use in other areas, including police work, where it could ‘supplement forged document analysis’.

“It would be fun to collaborate with the police, who currently deploy forensic document examiners to look for qualitative similarities and differences between the texts they are comparing. We can look at large amounts of data and find patterns. I imagine that this combination would benefit police work,” adds Lorenzen.