A new finding highlights the potential of generative AI to help workers with certain writing assignments. Amid a huge amount of hype around generative AI, a new study from researchers at MIT sheds light on the technology’s impact on work, finding that it increased productivity for workers assigned tasks like writing cover letters, delicate emails, and cost-benefit analyses.
Access to the assistive chatbot ChatGPT decreased the time it took workers to complete the tasks by 40 percent, and output quality, as measured by independent evaluators, rose by 18 percent. To study generative AI’s effect on worker productivity, the researchers gave 453 college-educated marketers, grant writers, consultants, data analysts, human resource professionals, and managers two writing tasks specific to their occupation. The 20- to 30-minute tasks included writing cover letters for grant applications, emails about organizational restructuring, and plans for analyses helping a company decide which customers to send push notifications to based on given customer data. Experienced professionals in the same occupations as each participant evaluated each submission as if they were encountering it in a work setting. Evaluators did not know which submissions were created with the help of ChatGPT.
Half of participants were given access to the chatbot ChatGPT-3.5, developed by the company OpenAI, for the second assignment. Those users finished tasks 11 minutes faster than the control group, while their average quality evaluations increased by 18 percent.
The data also showed that performance inequality between workers decreased, meaning workers who received a lower grade in the first task benefitted more from using ChatGPT for the second task.
Source: MIT news