Can Personal AI Help Level the Playing Field?
We’re not born with the same minds, but what if Artificial Intelligence (AI) could help level the playing field, enabling people to excel beyond their natural capabilities?
A recent Harvard study makes a compelling case that this may be possible. The research found that consultants working with AI assistance saw dramatic performance boosts - with those scoring below average experiencing a 43% jump in quality.
The study, a collaboration between Harvard Business School and Boston Consulting Group, involved over 700 management consultants. The participants undertook realistic consulting tasks, both with and without the help of AI. The results were striking: consultants using AI were significantly more productive (completed 12.2% more tasks, 25.1% faster) and delivered over 40% better quality solutions than the control group without AI assistance.
Bridging the gap in human cognition with AI
The more profound implications lie in how AI impacted consultants of varying skill levels differently. Those initially scoring below average in their work saw a sizable 43% improvement in performance with the addition of AI. Above-average participants still saw a boost, but only 17%, half that of the lower performers.
This performance uplift hints at an exciting potential: AI assistants as the great equalizer.
It's a fascinating concept — could this trend hold on a larger scale, encompassing a more comprehensive range of IQs and personality types?
This poses an intriguing question:
If someone with a naturally high IQ of 120 uses AI, would their performance boost be substantially more significant than someone with a lower IQ of 85?
Conventional wisdom might assume the high IQ individual would excel in leveraging AI to their advantage.
However, if both individuals had access to a highly personalized AI explicitly tailored to complement their abilities, the gap in performance boost may narrow significantly. Even if the high-IQ person still maintained a minor edge, the lift provided by AI to those with more modest inherent abilities could be remarkable. It might even go further than the cognitive performance gap and into the differences in emotional intelligence (EQ), which is extremely fascinating.
This could be a true game-changer. Leveling the playing field and increasing equality of opportunity for everyone, not only in the workforce but also in one's personal life. It requires all builders, first movers, and visionaries to ensure that AI will be designed and built thoughtfully.
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Dell'Acqua, Fabrizio and McFowland, Edward and Mollick, Ethan R. and Lifshitz-Assaf, Hila and Kellogg, Katherine and Rajendran, Saran and Krayer, Lisa and Candelon, François and Lakhani, Karim R., Navigating the Jagged Technological Frontier: Field Experimental Evidence of the Effects of AI on Knowledge Worker Productivity and Quality (September 15, 2023). Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit Working Paper No. 24-013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4573321 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4573321