We ask students to cite encyclopedia articles, dictionaries, news interviews with experts, and in-person conversations. A generative text-generation tool that scrapes published work and uses a statistical model to emulate a response that mimics the way the humans in its database have responded to similar prompts is formally something like a conversation, and the MLA’s general formula for citing sources adapts perfectly well to a conversation with a bot.
I don’t think it would be reasonable to expect students to cite Google’s “help me write” feature with this level of specificity, just as we don’t cite every time we accept an autocorrect suggestion that fixes a typographical error.
The MLA’s method for citing sources uses a template of core elements—standardized criteria that writers can use to evaluate sources and create works-cited-list entries based on that evaluation. That new technologies like ChatGPT emerge is a key reason why the MLA has adopted this approach to citation … —MLA.org “How do I cite generative AI in MLA style?“