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Generative AI, the Next Great Equalizer

Previously, education was considered the “great equalizer of the conditions of men” (Duncan, 2023). However, recent research from BCG has indicated that generative AI could be considered the next great equalizer among novices and experts in the workplace (Candelon et al., 2023). Below we examine the research supporting this conclusion and its implications for the modern business.

The great equalizer

In a research study examining the effects of generative AI on both creativity and complex problem-solving tasks, researchers concluded that in a creativity/innovation-based task, “nearly all participants (around 90%) irrespective of their baseline proficiency produced higher-quality results when using GPT-4 for the creative product innovation task.” Additionally, they found that those with lower “baseline proficiency” levels performed at similar levels to “those with higher baseline proficiencies” when using ChatGPT-4. This ultimately led to participants using ChatGPT-4 to have reduced performance variances between participants. The researchers state that “a much higher share of our participants performed at or very close to the average level” when using ChatGPT (Candelon et al., 2023).

Implications for business

Due to the equalizing effect that ChatGPT-4 has between novice and experienced participants alike on creative tasks, raw talent might now be less predictive of success with creative tasks. This implies that when hiring for creative roles, managers might consider being a skilled user of ChatGPT-4 and/or other generative AI as more important than direct experience or expertise. Furthermore, this access to increased performance can benefit smaller corporations with less budget and less access to experienced new hires who often request higher salaries. Therefore, transitioning to an AI-skills-focused hiring strategy for creative positions might be the next trend in hiring.

This also has implications for training programs. Businesses might incorporate AI-skills training into their new-hire onboarding. Likewise, they could incorporate AI-skills training into their staff management (Candelon et al., 2023).

Potential downsides

The equalizing effect of ChatGPT-4 has a few downsides that should be taken into consideration. First, because novice creatives are propelled to expert performance levels with the use of ChatGPT-4, individuals could experience a reduced incentive to develop expertise. Additionally, 70% of research participants expect that an overreliance on ChatGPT-4 in creative tasks could reduce the creative abilities of staff. Lastly, while individual performance is improved, “collective creativity” or the overall creativity of the group is largely reduced. Researchers stated that ChatGPT-4 responds “with very similar meaning time and again to the same sorts of prompts” and performance was “individually better but collectively repetitive” (Candelon et al., 2023). Their study indicated that when using ChatGPT-4 as a group, collective creativity and diversity of ideas were reduced by 41%. This is potentially hazardous when considering the impact between organizations or firms. If two or more firms are addressing the same challenges and all using ChatGPT-4, they will likely produce similar solutions, products, and services based on the repetitive nature of ChatGPT (Candelon et al., 2023).

Key takeaways

Generative AI might be the next great equalizer in the workforce and, business leaders and executive coaches alike need to understand the benefits and consequences of this. By addressing the impact that AI can have on talent search, firms with smaller budgets can expand their new-hire’s capabilities and performance. Firms can also integrate AI-skills training into their management to expand current employee performance on creative tasks. However, business leaders should take care to mitigate the downsides such as a loss of collective creativity to

use AI most effectively.

Read the original research article here.


Duncan, A. (2023, August 28). Education: The ‘Great Equalizer’ | Essay by Arne Duncan. Encyclopedia Britannica.

Candelon, F., Krayer, L., Rajendran, S., & Martínez, D. Z. (2023). How People Can Create—and Destroy—Value with Generative AI. BCG Global.

Copyright © 2023 by Arete Coach LLC. All rights reserved.


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