*Please note that this article is part of the Ranchor (the Anchor’s satirical edition)!
(Buster wants you to know that academic dishonesty is not a victimless crime…)
(Photo Credit: studiotrapeza / Getty Images)
It seemed like just another day for Hope College sophomore Caughton D’Act. At 9:30 a.m., he showed up for his Psychology Research Methods class, ready to proceed with a normal Wednesday morning. Little did he know that his professor was ready to unleash a controversial and possibly revolutionary force, and D’Act just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The night before, D’Act was at his wit’s end. Professor Fulme Wuntz had assigned an essay research malpractice involved in the Stanford Prison Experiment. After a couple of hapless minutes of brainstorming, D’Act gave up and did his best to pretend that the assignment didn’t exist. However, in the midst of his procrastinating, an article about ChatGPT caught his eye. After conducting an exhaustive research on the nifty features of this program, he decided to try using it to ghostwrite an essay, and in an impressively quick time, the program produced a thorough exploration on the problems presented by psychologists participating in investigative role-play. D’Act thought he finally had a ticket to his first A in the class.
He thought wrong.
When he showed up to class, Professor Wuntz pulled him aside and informed him that he would be kicked out of the class. D’Act was stunned, being under the impression that there were few tools available to spot the use of AI-assisted plagiarism. Wuntz then called the attention of the whole class to explain his process. “It has recently come to my attention that some of you think it’s ok to use ChatGPT in place of hard work and academic integrity. I want you to know, starting today, that if you use any AI programs in place of real work, I will find out, and this is how…” At this, he let out a whistle, and a tired-looking basset hound waddled out from under his desk. “I want you all to meet Buster, my new special assistant. Some dogs can sniff out drugs, some can detect explosives, but mine can smell academic malpractice, and he does not like the smell of many of your papers.”
The whole class was stunned. “Did Professor Wuntz actually just say that his dog could smell AI? That doesn’t make any sense!” said junior Willie Katchonn, another student of Wuntz’ who was also outed by Buster’s supposed abilities. Caughton, absolutely befuddled and flimflammed by the whole experience, plans to appeal his expulsion from the class on the grounds that “…there is no way a dog could tell he was cheating.”
Despite the immensely justifiable incredulity, Wuntz has been buoyed by what he sees as a recent breakthrough in enforcing academic integrity. “It’s really quite amazing. I have been obsessed with finding a way to prove my students are cheating, and a foolproof solution has unexpectedly dropped into my lap!”
When asked how he discovered the unorthodox and alleged talents of his beloved basset hound, the eccentric professor laughed and said “Yeah, it was totally a fluke. I came home late one day, and I decided to start messing around with ChatGPT. The whole time, Buster was growling as if he was really displeased with me. Finally, I gave up and gave him some food and switched to grading papers.” The following night, Wuntz repeated the process, and the same results occurred, leading Wuntz to believe that his dog was just very hungry…to register his dissatisfaction with AI chatbots (a statement indicative of the professor’s immense talent for arriving at unusual conclusions).
“The very next night, I was again behind on grading, so I decided to try and test my theory on a paper that Mr. D’Act wrote. I’ve been a little suspicious of his papers for a while, and Buster confirmed my suspicions with his booming howl.” Apparently satisfied with the work of his four-legged friend, he fed him and took the paper back, improving Buster’s mood considerably.
Naturally, he has received some pushback since deploying what is essentially the world’s first academic K9 unit. His senior TA Isabelle Ringing, who is also working with Wuntz on a meta-analysis of Pavlov’s classical conditioning studies, is skeptical. “I really don’t think my professor fully understands what he’s talking about, and it feels unusual that the only students Buster has sniffed out are the students Professor Wuntz already suspected. ” His colleagues in the Psych Department are similarly bemused, and none are particularly eager to adopt similar methods.
When asked if he plans to continue employing his pooch’s dubiously substantiated talents, Wuntz got very excited. “Oh yes, how could I not use such an asset to my full advantage? It’s completely foolproof, because no one can find a way around it if I don’t fully understand it myself!” In fact, Wuntz is aiming to expand the scope of Buster’s sniffing capabilities, proclaiming that he’s “already showing promising talent for detecting plagiarism too, and I’m hoping that, by the end of the year, he will be capable of peer-reviewing my research paper.”
Buster was unable to comment on his owner’s grandiose ambitions, although he did happily accept a dog treat and belly rubs.