ChatGPT boosts productivity and quality for educated professionals, MIT study finds


An MIT experiment shows that AI tools like ChatGPT can significantly increase the productivity and quality of work of educated professionals, especially those with weaker skills.

The study, conducted by Shakked Noy and Whitney Zhang of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Economics, involved 453 college-educated professionals in fields such as marketing, data analytics, and human resources who were given incentive writing tasks.

Among those assigned to use ChatGPT with GPT 3.5, productivity increased significantly – work was completed 40% faster and the quality of output improved by 18%.

College-educated professionals performing midlevel professional writing tasks substantially increased their productivity when given access to ChatGPT. The generative writing tool increased the output quality of low-ability workers and reduced time spent on tasks for workers of all ability levels.

From the paper

Participants assigned to use ChatGPT reported greater enjoyment of their tasks and were twice as likely to continue using the AI ​​tool in their real jobs two weeks after the experiment, and 1.6 times as likely to continue using it two months later. This suggests that AI tools like ChatGPT can be a valuable asset for professionals in a variety of fields.


ChatGPT excels in clear and persuasive writing

The tasks given to the participants, such as writing press releases or short analytical reports, were designed to resemble actual tasks they might encounter in their daily work. These tasks played to ChatGPT’s strengths, which include clear and persuasive writing.

Half of the participants were randomly assigned to a group that was allowed to use the AI ​​tool for their second task. The other half formed the control group and were instructed to use a different tool (non-AI), but weren’t encouraged to use it for their tasks.

The work of these professionals was then evaluated by other professionals in the same field. They were asked to judge the work as closely as possible to what they would encounter in their usual professional environment. They rated the quality of the work on a scale of 1 to 7.

The researchers collected data and information about how much time the participants spent on the tasks and the quality of their work. They also monitored the participants’ work progress throughout the task to measure activity levels and verify that they were using the AI ​​tool.

In addition, they recorded some contextual variables, such as their dropout rate and employment status, and tracked whether they were HR professionals. The idea was to see if these external factors could affect the outcomes, and they found that these variables didn’t have a significant impact on the results.


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