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Researchers Announce OpenAI’s GPT-4 Matches or Outperforms Humans in Creative Thinking Tests

June 7, 2023

A team of interdisciplinary researchers, including Dr. Christian Gilde, Professor of Business at the University of Montana Western, Dr. Erik Guzik, Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Montana, and Dr. Christian Byrge, Professor of Business Creativity at Vilnius University, shared their findings during the University of Southern Oregon's Conference on Creativity from a recent study focused on the creative capabilities of AI. For the first time, OpenAI's GPT-4 scored in the top 1% on the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT), matching or outperforming humans in the creative abilities of fluency, flexibility, and originality.

Left to Right: Dr. Christian Gilde, Professor of Business at the University of Montana Western, Dr. Erik Guzik, Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Montana, and Dr. Christian Byrge, Professor of Business Creativity at Vilnius University

The research team first met during an innovation and creativity workshop held in 2013 at Boise State University where Dr. Gilde and Dr. Guzik attended a workshop facilitated by Dr. Byrge. The researchers discovered their mutual interest in understanding, promoting, and evaluating creativity. 

“As business faculty and researchers, all of us shared an interest in applying technology to business education and development. As we began to explore AI, especially ChatGPT, it became clear the benefits for business applications would be significant. The introduction of ChatGPT creates new opportunities in just about every field and industry, but especially those that depend on creativity, or the ability to generate new and novel ideas that have value,” said Dr. Gilde. “This development also forces society to revisit some of the most fundamental questions about creativity, including what the nature of human creativity is and whether creativity is an ability that uniquely separates human beings from machines. Overall, this could prompt a reevaluation of how we define, assess, and develop creativity in education, organizations, and society.” 

For their latest research project with GPT-4, the researchers were interested in evaluating its creative abilities compared to human creativity. 

“GPT-4 was tested eight times through ChatGPT using two variants of the TTCT, the gold standard for researchers assessing creativity. Using the TTCT, we asked GPT-4 to demonstrate its creative abilities by asking questions, guessing causes, contemplating potential consequences, generating ideas for product improvement, envisioning new alternative uses for existing products, and imagining future scenarios,” said Dr. Guzik.

The AI’s responses were compared to those of humans by Scholastic Testing Services, a third-party evaluator of the TTCT. All eight tests saw GPT-4 score in the top 1% of all human responses for fluency — the ability to produce a large number of responses to each activity.

For flexibility, the ability to produce a variety of ideas and to shift from one approach to another, three tests scored in the top 1%, two in the top 2%, and the remaining three in the top 7%.

“Perhaps most significantly, all eight tests saw GPT-4 score in the top 1% for originality, the ability to produce uncommon or unique responses that defy the commonplace and established norms. This is the first study to show any form of AI as capable of generating original responses that match or exceed the current threshold of human creative abilities,” said Dr. Guzik.

The research team predicts that every component of the entrepreneurial process, and business in general, will be affected by AI in the next five years — including identifying unique opportunities and significant problem areas, generating novel solution ideas, improving products, producing new marketing strategies, and imagining future scenarios and outcomes.

“The impact on the launch of new startups and small businesses, important generators of overall economic activity and growth, will be significant. The exceptional creativity exhibited by GPT-4 marks a new phase in AI-driven brainstorming and solution development, which could revolutionize the way startups and small businesses function, innovate, and stay competitive. The typical resource limitations startups and small businesses face, which restrict their ability to employ a large team or invest in comprehensive market research, could be significantly assisted by the creative capabilities of AI. The inventiveness, adaptability, and originality showcased by GPT-4 could serve as an indispensable innovation tool for humans,” said Dr. Guzik.

The team’s findings, including further research into training GPT-4 to improve its creative abilities in specific domains such as business innovation and entrepreneurship, is planned for publication later this summer.

For more information, please contact Dr. Erik Guzik: [email protected] or 406-243-6053.