Why AI Content Detectors Are Flawed

Joanna Humphreys

Artificial intelligence (AI) is both a blessing and a curse for content creators, particularly writers. It’s an excellent collaborative tool, giving writers the chance to focus on doing what they do best – writing content – while automating a lot of the previously time-consuming parts of the process, like generating ideas and titles, research, and more.

However, despite all the extraordinary capabilities of AI, these super-smart systems don’t always hit the mark. And this is especially true for AI content detectors, which have become the bane of many a content writer’s life. Although these tools have some impressive features, they are certainly not without their shortcomings. AI content detectors might seem like handy tools, but the truth is – they are flawed.

The Limitation of Training Data

AI tools learn from data, making it the basis for any subsequent decisions they make. However, like any guide, the information provided can only be as good as its knowledge. When it comes to AI content detectors, their training data is their knowledge base. The issue arises when this data is flawed or limited. Imagine a young school student learning from outdated or incomplete textbooks. It would result in an incorrect, distorted understanding of the world. And this is the struggle that many AI content detectors struggle with. Their data may lack diversity, be unbalanced, or simply outdated, leading to a narrow scope of understanding and less accurate results.

The Difficult Task of Context Comprehension

Diving deeper into the complexities of language analysis, we encounter another significant flaw – context comprehension. Unlike humans, AI cannot understand context with the same intuitive grasp. And as hard as AI content detectors might try, they cannot understand concepts such as sarcasm or irony. AI in general struggles to comprehend abstract concepts, cultural nuances, or the complexity of human emotions. And this often leads to false positives or negatives, which undermines the accuracy and trustworthiness of AI content detectors.

Interpretation and Bias

AI systems don’t make autonomous decisions. They reflect the intentions and biases of their creators, however unintentional those biases might be. When an AI content detector misinterprets content, it’s possibly down to inherent biases in the training data or the algorithms used.

For example, the algorithms, which are the fundamental building blocks of AI, are not inherently neutral. They are developed by humans, who, consciously or unconsciously, might infuse their own biases into these structures. This issue becomes particularly prevalent when machine learning techniques are used. The algorithms learn from data, and if that data contains biases, such as ‘AI content contains a lot of metaphors’, the algorithms will learn and perpetuate these biases. In this example, content containing metaphors written without the aid of AI systems might be labelled by the detector as AI-generated, despite this not being the case.

Diverse Writing Genres and Styles

When it comes to content, there’s a diverse range of genres and styles out there. This brings richness to the written word, but unfortunately, doesn’t help the AI detector problem.

For example, imagine two blog posts side-by-side. One is an informative, formal piece written to provide a how-to guide. The other is a more personal piece, depicting the writer’s experience. Neither were generated by AI, but an AI content detector is more likely to tell you that the first one is AI-generated, simply because of its nature.

This is just another example of the biases that these tools run on. When generative AI first began gaining traction, there were a lot of misconceptions about what AI-generated content would look like.  When you use AI detectors, it’s clear to see that they have been fed these myths. One such misconception is that AI-generated content does not contain any personal opinions or anecdotes. And while that may be true, it’s also very true for a lot of human-written content. The moment generative AI hit the scene, many people seemed to completely forget that professional writers have been writing this kind of content for years.  There are millions of how-to guides, top-ten lists, and informative pieces written on behalf of brands that don’t care about the writer’s personal take.

And let’s not forget – generative AI has been trained on that content.

Do We Really Need AI Content Detectors?

Are these tools truly necessary when it comes to creating content? Is there a difference between good content written entirely by a human being, and good content that’s been written by a person, with the aid of AI?

For most people concerned about AI content, Google ranking seems to be the main problem. Many site owners wonder if they will be penalized by Google for posting AI-generated, or AI-aided content. However, Google has not explicitly stated that it penalizes content solely because it was generated by AI – no matter what the AI content detector companies might say to try and get you to sign up and buy credits.

In fact, Google has stated that it favors helpful content. Whether that was written completely by a human off the top of their head, a human who used AI to help with the mundane tasks of writing, or it was completely generated by an AI tool.

Chances are, AI content isn’t your problem here. It may be worth auditing your SEO processes to determine if there are other factors at play, such as spammy backlinks, unhelpful, low-quality content (whether AI generated or not), or poor user experience. These are far more likely to impact your ranking and SEO than valuable content that just so happens to have been created with the help of AI. Writers have been using various AI tools for years, such as Grammarly or online blog post title generators to aid their content. Google didn’t penalize working smart and being more efficient then, and it’s unlikely to start now.

With the AI boom, it’s no surprise that AI content detectors are also becoming more widely used. But are they really telling you the truth? With all their flaws, it might be best to take what these tools tell you with a large pinch of salt. And if the content itself is high-quality and provides value, does it really matter that much?

Our Bottom Line

We don’t use AI to generate content at Ink Elves and continue to write everything ourselves as we have always done.  However, saying that we haven’t been asked to prove this would be a lie.  We have tested dozens of AI detectors and haven’t come across one that is accurate yet – despite most claiming to be 95%+ accurate.  And with OpenAI quietly pulling their own AI detector due to this, we strongly expect others will continue to do the same – or they will when people stop wasting money on them.  Until then, we can only explain that nothing in our processes has changed.  We have been writing content for businesses for over ten years now and are not going to risk losing clients for the sake of saving time.  We would very much appreciate it if the trust we have built over the years continued.