ChatGPT and other large language models have been in the public eye for a few months now, but what impact have they actually had?
A year-long study has been published that measures the impact of providing generative AI tools to technical customer service reps. 5000 workers were given access to a chat-based generative AI platform based on GPT and fine-tuned using a large dataset of customer service interactions.
The study found worker efficiency improved on average by 14%, a very significant improvement.!
From the report itself: “we show that AI assistance improves customer sentiment, reduces requests for managerial intervention, and improves employee retention.” Interestingly, researchers found that the AI model enabled junior reps (2 months experience) to perform at the same level as more senior employees (>6 months experience), who comparatively saw fewer benefits.
This is one of the first studies measuring the benefits AI tools can bring to workers. It should be noted that this began before the release of newer tools like ChatGPT. With these more powerful tools, distributed to workers on a much larger scale, it will be interesting to see what the next few studies like this find.
On the other hand, we are starting to see layoffs in the tech world attributed to several of these new AI tools. IBM recently announced plans to pause hiring in all areas that could be replaced by AI, expecting to replace 7800 jobs over 5 years through attrition.
Alternatively, Dropbox announced layoffs of 500 employees 16% of staff, due to shifting resources to focus on developing new features around these AI tools. It is worth noting however that layoffs in the tech world have been happening for the past year now, before chatGPT started causing a stir.
These job losses may have happened anyway, and AI is just a convenient excuse.