October 4, 2023
MANILA – Recent studies have conflicting discoveries regarding ChatGPT’s impact on productivity. On the one hand, a recent Harvard study showed using generative AI helped social scientists and consultants improve their output. On the other hand, another research from Boston Consulting Group found ChatGPT could make workers perform worse.
We must examine such research projects because they examine how artificial intelligence could impact our society. They enable us to prepare for an AI-dominated world despite their conflicting findings. No matter your side, these studies will help you adjust your life as more countries adopt generative AI tools.
This article will discuss both studies that share insights regarding ChatGPT productivity. I will start with the positive Harvard study, and then I will cover the negative BCG research.
How does ChatGPT boost productivity?
The Harvard study took hundreds of consultants and randomly assigned whether they could use AI. Consequently, it divided the participants into the AI-enabled and control groups.
Both performed the same writing, marketing, analytical, persuasiveness, and creative tasks. VentureBeat says these included making a press release to conducting market segmentation.
Wharton Business School Professor Ethan Mollick joined the study and shared the results in a blog post. “For 18 different tasks selected to be realistic samples of the kinds of work done at [BCG], consultants using ChatGPT-4 outperformed those who did not, by a lot,” he said.
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“Consultants using AI finished 12.2% more tasks on average, completed tasks 25.1% more quickly, and produced 40% higher quality results than those without,” Mollick added.
VentureBeat says the artificial intelligence served as a skill-leveler, meaning it enabled low performers to keep up with the best. The worst-performing consultants performed 43% better when they used AI programs.
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However, the study found the most highly skilled workers saw little to no benefit from using artificial intelligence systems. Nonetheless, the technology has promising workplace potential.
For example, companies could produce greater output with the same number of employees. As a result, businesses could earn more money by adopting AI tools.
The study also acknowledged its potential negative effects. For example, AI adoption may cause businesses to demand more from employees, boosting worker stress and burnout.
How can AI reduce productivity?
BCG, Harvard, Wharton, and MIT researchers conducted a more advanced version of that study. They took 758 consultants from BCG and divided them into three groups:
- ChatGPT group
- GPT-4 group
- Control (no AI) group
The first group uses the free version of ChatGPT with the GPT-3.5 Turbo large language model. Conversely, the second group uses GPT-4, OpenAI’s latest LLM with superior features.
The researchers also trained them in using these tools. Then, they assigned the groups to one of two task categories. The first included 18 activities “inside the frontier” of what the AI bot can do.
Yahoo Finance said that included brainstorming innovative beverage concepts or crafting a comprehensive business plan for a new footwear concept. The second group had tasks “outside the frontier” of AI.
The study explained, “AI would struggle without extensive guidance,” but “consultants would excel” at these tasks. It found the first group became “significantly more productive” and “produced significantly higher quality results” than those who weren’t using the bot.
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Unfortunately, the second was “19 percentage points less likely to produce correct solutions compared to those without AI.” Consultants listened to ChatGPT, even if it gave the wrong answers.
Another ChatGPT productivity study from Harvard Business School’s Fabrizio Dell’Acqua found job recruiters who used high-quality AI became “lazy, careless, and less skilled in their own judgment.”
The paper said, “As AI quality increases, humans have fewer incentives to exert effort and remain attentive, allowing the AI to substitute, rather than augment their performance.” As a result, long-term dependency could weaken our intellect. As a result, the BCG research warned about overreliance on generative AI tools.
Various studies have conflicting insights regarding ChatGPT productivity. Nevertheless, they prove that it is an emerging technology with immense potential.
“As the boundaries of AI capabilities continue to expand, often exponentially, it becomes incumbent upon human professionals to recalibrate their understanding of the frontier and for organizations to prepare for a new world of work combining humans and AI,” the BCG researchers wrote.
This article shared the links to its sources to help readers gain additional information. Also, you can check the latest digital tips and trends at Inquirer Tech.