In the digital age, distinguishing between human-written and AI-generated text is crucial for business leaders and communicators.

This skill is crucial for several reasons, ranging from maintaining credibility to making informed decisions, writes Kim Polley, managing partner at Instinctif Partners.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, notes: “AI doesn’t have the capacity to truly understand the nuances of human language and context. It can imitate but not truly replicate human communication.”

Here are the top six indicators that suggest the text you are reading may have been generated by AI:

Consistent and Repetitive Patterns

AI-generated text often exhibits repetitive sentence structures and patterns. Look for paragraphs with unnaturally consistent sentence lengths and structures. This repetitive nature is a hallmark of machine-generated content, as AI tends to follow set algorithms in creating text. A dead giveaway is the use of the same word in consecutive sentences, such as “important” or “significant,” and phrases like “in conclusion” or “a pivotal point.”

Example: “AI systems are important in many industries. It is important to understand their impact. A pivotal point to consider is their reliability.”

Lack of Contextual Understanding

AI tools can struggle with context. If you notice information that seems out of place or lacks relevance to the overall topic, it might be AI-generated. For example, an article on financial markets might include irrelevant details about a personal savings account or a discussion on cooking tips in an unrelated context, indicating a lack of contextual understanding.

Example: “In analysing the stock market trends, it is crucial to note the rise in tech stocks. Additionally, learning how to make a perfect soufflĂ© can be a rewarding experience.”

Overly Formal or Neutral Tone

AI-generated text often maintains a consistent formal or neutral tone, lacking the nuanced shifts in tone and style that characterize human writing. If the text feels impersonal or overly detached, it could be the work of an AI. Human writers often inject emotion, humor, or urgency based on the context, which AI-generated text typically lacks.

Example: “The advancements in technology are noteworthy. This progress is beneficial for various sectors. Stakeholders should be aware of these developments.”

Perfect Grammar but Awkward Phrasing

AI-generated text usually features impeccable grammar and spelling but can have awkward or unnatural phrasing. If you find sentences that, while grammatically correct, seem strange or robotic, they may have been produced by AI. For instance, AI often uses colons and semi-colons excessively, especially in titles or headlines.

Example: “To improve productivity: follow these steps; they will enhance your workflow; significantly.” or “The Premium Edge: Human-Generated Content in the Age of AI.”

Lack of Personal Insights or Anecdotes

Human writers often share personal insights, anecdotes, and unique perspectives. AI, however, cannot draw from personal experience. If the text lacks these elements and feels devoid of a personal touch, it might be AI-generated. Authentic human writing often includes references to personal experiences, opinions, and direct engagement with the topic.

Example: “During my trip to Silicon Valley, I realized the true potential of start-up culture. The conversations with young entrepreneurs were particularly enlightening.”

Difficulty Handling Complex Questions

AI struggles with answering complex or nuanced questions, often reverting to generic responses. If the text seems to skirt around detailed answers to intricate questions, instead providing vague or surface-level information, it may be AI-authored. AI tends to simplify or avoid addressing multi-faceted issues directly.

Example: “Addressing climate change requires global cooperation. It is important to reduce emissions and adopt sustainable practices. Governments and industries must work together.”

Gary Marcus, AI researcher and author, advises: “AI systems can generate text that looks fluent and plausible on the surface but often lack the depth and understanding of human authors.”