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As AI-generated texts become more prevalent on the internet, social media, and in emails, often without any labeling, Reddit users are sharing the telltale signs they use to identify text generated by ChatGPT.

In a thread started by user PowerfulDev that has garnered over 300 comments, users discussed the words and phrases that can be used to better identify ChatGPT-generated content. According to Reddit users, ChatGPT tends to use certain words disproportionately, such as:

  • Delve
  • Tapestry
  • Kaleidoscope
  • Foster
  • Nuanced
  • Crucial
  • Essential
  • Furthermore
  • Moreover

Many users agree that ChatGPT tends to draw conclusions too often, even when they are unnecessary. "In conclusion, I think this is a very helpful way to identify ChatGPT content," writes user MrSnowden.

Slightly more stylized language and phrases such as "in this digital world" or "let's dive deeper" are also considered indicators of ChatGPT text.

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Commenters also describe ChatGPT as producing overly intellectual passages with words like "intricate," "nuanced," "complex," or "multifaceted" for certain topics.

Frequent use of hyphens in compound adjectives, even when not grammatically necessary, is also a potential ChatGPT telltale. Freylaverse points to em-dashes with no space on either side, which are not as easy to type on a keyboard as hyphens. ChatGPT uses them correctly, while lazy humans usually just use hyphens.

Sentences and paragraphs of uniform length and an overall formal style are also characteristic of ChatGPT. In emails, phrases like "I hope this email finds you well" or the excessive use of "moreover" or "furthermore" are seen as red flags.

AI detectives have an easy time with texts in which ChatGPT writes: "As an AI language model ...". Some people overlook this disclaimer and publish the text anyway.

However, some Reddit users caution against taking individual words as clear evidence of ChatGPT. After all, people might use those words - otherwise they wouldn't be in the training data. Only in combination and in large numbers are they indicative of AI-generated text.

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Anecdotal analysis and the uncanny valley of communication

An analysis by Reddit user peyotebonsai as part of a research project shows that LinkedIn posts written by AI perform slightly better on average on sentiment analysis using tools like TextBlob and Vader than posts written by human authors.

TextBlob and Vader are programs that can assess sentiment and emotion in text. The results suggest that AI-generated text tends to sound more positive than human-generated text because of word choice, Peyotebonsai says.

Interestingly, however, a comparison of other indicators, such as reposts, comments and likes, showed that AI-generated content received significantly less engagement from users than human-generated posts.

This suggests that LinkedIn users are well aware of the subtle but noticeable differences between human and machine expression.

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The analysis should be taken with a grain of salt, of course, since peyotebonsai posts anonymously and does not publish the results in detail. But it is consistent with my anecdotal experience, for what it is worth.

Or as user opi098514 puts it: "For me, it’s not a word. It’s kind of the uncanny valley…. But with communication."

In case you never heard of this effect: The Uncanny Valley originally describes the phenomenon that robots or human-like figures are often perceived as uncanny because they look human-like, but not human-like enough. This creates a feeling of alienation.

When it comes to communication, the analogy suggests that the subtle but noticeable differences in the way AI and humans express themselves can create a subliminal feeling of discomfort in the reader, even though AI texts may appear more coherent and positive on the surface.

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Summary
  • Reddit users discuss words and phrases that are typical of ChatGPT-generated text, including "delve," "tapestry," "kaleidoscope," "foster," "nuanced," "crucial," "essential," "moreover," and "furthermore.
  • Other indicators include stilted language, overly intellectual passages, many hyphens in compound adjectives, similarly long sentences and paragraphs, and a very formal style.
  • One user describes the feeling he gets when reading AI texts: They are like the uncanny valley of communication. Somehow real, but not.
Sources
Online journalist Matthias is the co-founder and publisher of THE DECODER. He believes that artificial intelligence will fundamentally change the relationship between humans and computers.
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