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ChatGPT: it’s not only about speed, MIT says

August 23, 2023

When it comes to everyday types of communication like writing emails or short reports, a new MIT study published in the journal Science suggests that generative AI could be a big advantage. According to the report, using chatbots for these tasks speeds up productivity by 40% and increases quality by 18%.

Authors Shakked Noy and Whitney Zhang recruited 453 college-educated people to do general writing tasks. The researchers asked them to write a press release about a new product, a company-wide email about a new policy, or a consulting report about a new trend

Each person was asked to do two tasks that a professional would do in a particular field (for example, someone might do two tasks related to public relations). Between the first and second tasks, half of the participants were instructed to sign up for ChatGPT and were given permission to use it for the second. Those users finished tasks 11 minutes faster than the control group, while their average quality evaluations increased by 18%.

The finding that quality has also increased surprised many. The authors say the possible reason is that ChaGPT is a good writer, and can craft sentences that are usually sufficient for simple tasks.

“What we can say for sure is generative AI is going to have a big effect on white-collar work,” said Noy. “I think what our study shows is that this kind of technology has important applications in white-collar work. It’s a useful technology. But it’s still too early to tell if it will be good or bad, or how exactly it’s going to cause society to adjust.”

Source: Science | MIT