AI Faulty Detector: The Unsettling Reality of Misidentification

Can AI detectors reliably distinguish between human-written and AI-generated content? Uncover the unsettling truth about the accuracy of AI detection tools in the wake of startling insights revealed by AI specialist, Janelle Shane.

AI Faulty Detector: The Unsettling Reality of Misidentification


  • AI detection tools are frequently failing to correctly identify AI-generated content, mistaking it for human-written, and disproportionately flagging content written by non-native English speakers.
  • Janelle Shane, a leading authority on AI, underscores the profound implications of these biases, warning against using AI detectors in crucial decision-making contexts.


Janelle Shane, a scientist with a doctorate in engineering, has been a thought leader in the AI field for almost a decade. Recently, her blog, AI Weirdness, touched on a significant issue: the unreliability of AI detection tools and their unintended biases.

Key Facts

  • A study from Stanford University reveals that AI-detection products, such as,, and Sapling GPT, frequently misclassify AI-generated content as human-written.
  • These tools are highly biased against non-native English-speaking writers, labelling their content as AI-generated between 48% and 76% of the time.
  • Shane's tests reveal that even her own book content was marked as “very likely to be AI-written” by one detector and “moderately likely” by another.


  • The flawed detection tools, especially when used in evaluative or educational settings, risk unfair consequences for non-native English speakers and may exacerbate existing biases.
  • Misidentification by these tools could lead to serious repercussions, such as wrongly penalizing students for cheating or influencing important decisions about loans or parole.

Some common issues with AI detectors are:

  • False positives, occur when the detector identifies content as being generated by AI, even though it was written by a human.
  • False negatives, which happen when the detector fails to detect content that was generated by AI.
  • Inaccuracy, as AI content detection tools can still lead to inaccurate results and false positives.
  • Difficulty in identifying texts that involve both humans and AI.
  • Varying accuracy depends on the tool being used and the complexity of the content being analyzed.
  • Marking human-written content as AI-generated and vice versa.
  • Being easily tricked by making minor tweaks to AI-generated text.
  • Limitations and potential harm caused by relying solely on these technologies for detecting human vs. AI-generated content.

Our Take

  • These biases and false positives in AI detection tools represent a significant shortcoming, questioning their reliability and exacerbating inequities. The use of these tools could have serious, real-world implications for individuals, particularly non-native English speakers.


  • The reliability and fairness of AI detection tools are under serious scrutiny following a study and real-world tests by Janelle Shane.
  • These tools show a significant bias against non-native English speakers, flagging their content as AI-written and potentially leading to unjust consequences.
  • While this highlights a critical issue, it also presents an opportunity for AI researchers and developers to address these biases and improve the technology for fairer outcomes.


‘Don’t use AI detectors for anything important,’ says the author of the definitive ‘AI Weirdness’ blog. Her own book failed the test
“If you spell it out kind of clearly, it becomes so obvious that these tools have problems,” Janelle Shane told Fortune in an interview.

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