AI improves productivity for knowledge workers (like lawyers) by 30% according to a report released today by Harvard University – a bigger impact than steam power had on productivity in the industrial revolution.

The report looks at impact of generative AI copilots on software developers. It found that, on average, 30 per cent of code suggestions were accepted, with that rate expected to grow to 60 per cent by 2030. Code suggestions were found to have increased productivity by 30 per cent.

GitHub AI Copilot was found to have increased the speed at which code was written by 55 per cent. About 87 per cent of users said the tool helped preserve mental energy, while 73 per cent said the tool minimised interruption within their workflow. In some cases, that resulted in a 90 per cent faster completion rate.

To put this into context, for the average small factory in the US in the 19th century, adding steam power increased productivity by only 25%.

For the record, I think that AI augments most knowledge workers (including lawyers) and will allow us to level-up the services/output we provide. But we need to engage with the tech.