June 5, 2023

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AI boosted worker productivity by 14%

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Artificial intelligence tools such as chatbots helped to increase the productivity of workers at one tech company by 14%, according to New research from Stanford and MIT that was First reported by Bloomberg.

The study is believed to be the first major real-world application of generative AI in the workplace. Researchers measured the productivity of more than 5,000 customer support agents, primarily based in the Philippines, at a Fortune 500 software company over the course of a year.

Technical support agents who used AI tools that generated transcripts of the conversation They boosted their productivity, measured by 14% on average, on the basis of problem solving per hour, but the improvement was most noticeable for “junior and low-skilled workers” who were able to get their work done 35% faster.

In some cases, the use of AI outperformed real-world work experience: Customer service agents with two months of experience who used AI support performed as well or better than agents with more than six months of work experience without AI.

Meanwhile, the use of AI tools showed little effect on “experienced or highly skilled workers,” the authors note, and at times acted as a distraction.

AI support could be especially useful for entry-level or early-career workers, says Lindsey Raymond, PhD, PhD, at MIT. Candidate and co-author of the paper. Less experienced workers take advantage of AI by taking its recommendations to quickly level up and learn the skill sets that usually come with experience.

However, AI tools benefit the best and brightest workers in training the AI ​​itself by providing examples of best practices, which the technology then turns into recommendations for other workers to apply.

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Companies must recognize that despite less dramatic changes in productivity, high-performing employees must be recognized and compensated for generating solutions from which others can learn, says Raymond.

The year-long trial also revealed that the help of AI improved customer satisfaction, reduced requests for management intervention and improved employee retention.

The research is not intended to hypothesize whether artificial intelligence will replace workers, Raymond says, but rather to conclude that the technology will help workers more effectively multitask and deal with more complex questions faster.

Better, faster work led to happier customers, who in turn were kinder to customer service agents and improved employee retention, Raymond says.

She adds that tools that make people more effective in their jobs make the work experience less stressful.

The findings that generative AI can boost productivity are generally good news, says Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Digital Economy Lab at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence and co-author of the report, though the biggest benefits may not be forthcoming. distributed evenly. . “There’s no guarantee we’ll all benefit, but it definitely sets the table for all of us to be better off,” he says.

Contact centers are a great place to use generative AI because it involves so much written language, Brynjolfsson says, but “nearly any type of information or cognitive work that involves language can benefit from that,” including across legal, marketing, medical, education, and others. domains.

He adds that workers at all levels can benefit from the technology — he recently spoke with a CEO who used generative AI to prepare for a board meeting.

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“It is likely that more than half of the American workforce will be significantly affected by these tools,” says Brynjolfsson.

He adds that workers, especially young people, can stay ahead of the curve by embracing the reality of technology: “The workers who embrace technology, play with it and learn how to use it are the ones who will succeed and benefit the most,” Brynjolfsson He says. “I don’t think that generative AI will replace workers, but workers who work with generative AI will replace those who don’t.”

Some experts say generative AI tools could influence how two-thirds of current jobs perform and could eventually increase global GDP by up to 7%, according to One economic report from Goldman Sachs.

a modern one A survey of the top companies on LinkedIn It found that nearly 70% say AI is already helping them be faster and smarter, and another 32% say they expect to see greater gains from using AI in the coming years. and companies like EY explicitly included artificial intelligence as one of the top three priorities for employment, while Wells Fargo and Kaiser Permanente Application of artificial intelligence in workflow.

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