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Sciences Po, one of France's top universities, has banned the use of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence-based chatbot that can generate coherent prose, to prevent fraud and plagiarism.

ChatGPT is a free programme that generates original text about virtually any subject in response to a prompt, including articles, essays, jokes and even poetry, raising concerns across industries about plagiarism.

The university said on Friday the school had emailed all students and faculty announcing a ban on ChatGPT and all other AI-based tools at Sciences Po.

"Without transparent referencing, students are forbidden to use the software for the production of any written work or presentations, except for specific course purposes, with the supervision of a course leader," Sciences Po said, though it did not specify how it would track usage.

ChatGPT has already been banned in some public schools in New York City and Seattle, according to U.S. media reports, while several U.S. universities have announced plans to do fewer take-home assessments and more hand-written essays and oral exams.

Sciences Po, whose main campus is in Paris, added that punishment for using the software may go as far as exclusion from the institution, or even from French higher education as a whole.

"The ChatGPT software is raising important questions for educators and researchers all around the world, with regards to fraud in general, and particularly plagiarism," it said .

The concerns can be worrisome because it was recently reported that the ChatGPT has passed exams at a US law school after writing essays on topics ranging from constitutional law to taxation and torts.

The results have been so good that educators have warned it could lead to widespread cheating and even signal the end of traditional classroom teaching methods.

Jonathan Choi, a professor at Minnesota University Law School, gave ChatGPT the same test faced by students, consisting of 95 multiple-choice questions and 12 essay questions.

In a white paper titled "ChatGPT goes to law school" published on Monday, he and his coauthors reported that the bot scored a C overall.

While this was enough for a pass, the bot was near the bottom of the class in most subjects and "bombed" at multiple-choice questions involving mathematics.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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