Jan. 13, 2023 12:00 PM PST

If an artificial intelligence program were to engineer a human with the potential to destroy it—or at least slow its march to global domination—it might create Edward Tian.

Tian, a 22-year-old Princeton University student, is a computer science major who specializes in natural-language processing. He’s a former researcher for the BBC and for open-source intelligence website Bellingcat, as well as an ex-analyst at Miburo Solutions, a counterterrorism startup acquired by Microsoft. There, he monitored disinformation and bot detection. “All of that,” he said, “motivated this.”

“This” is GPTZero, an app Tian built over a few weeks in December that can scan text to decipher whether it was written by a human or an AI program. Its primary target is text generated by ChatGPT, the paradigm-shifting software program that has set off alarm bells all over academia since OpenAI released it in November.

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