If you've ever been stumped when trying to write the perfect college entrance essay, rest assured. Scientists have created software than can generate a near-perfect paper in less than a second.
Les Perelman, former director of writing for MIT, has created the Babel Generator, which can spit out a full essay after the user plugs in three relevant keywords.
The Babel Generator isn't designed to churn out papers for your English or History 101 classes, however. It's an effort to fool grading systems that use specific algorithms to score essay exams, as The Chronicle Of Higher Education reports.
The Babel Generator creates grammatically correct essays that are keyword-stuffed to the brim, although the content rarely makes any sense. The idea is to prove that programs used by certain schools or organizations to grade essays aren't accurately analyzing the quality of writing when it comes to grading.
When speaking with the Chronicle, Perelman copy-and-pasted an essay generated by Babel into MY Access!, a writing tutorial program that uses the same scoring technology that the Graduate Management Admission Test uses as a second reader. The nonsensical paper recieved a 5.4 out of 6 from MY Access!, according to the Chronicle.
A study from 2012 showed that there isn't much of a difference in the way machines and humans grade papers when examining a high volume of content, such as a batch of SAT exams. Researchers from The University of Akron in Ohio found that scores for the same sets of essays showed similar means and standards of deviation regardless of whether humans or computers graded them, according to The Verge.
Writing teachers, however, have argued that these systems are flawed and that they look for qualities such as transition words or sophisticated vocabulary to evaluate an essay, Popular Science reports.
At the same time, computer scientists at edX, a non-profit online course provider co-funded by MIT, are working to create a machine paper grading system that mimic the styles of individual professors to yield more human-like results.
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