There is a lot of macro going on: inflation, economic crisis, layoff contagion, War, China issues, etc.
It might feel like we are on Tattoine, but we now have a new lightsaber for young Padawans to become Jedi masters: Generative AI.
My take is that AI will be one of the enablers to grow our way out of the current economic situation:
- We will have a large productivity bump due to the integration of AI capabilities in knowledge work.
- AI will drive down costs because we can now do more with less, this will reduce inflation.
- With AI as co-pilot, we will accomplish outcomes faster and earlier; which will drive economic growth.
Will AI completely displace certain jobs? It will more likely amp up and automate specific parts of our jobs.
And the key to driving this productivity and growth is getting better at creating AI prompts.
We are all going to become prompt engineers, and it is in our best interest to learn AI prompts.
In fact, the interest in prompt engineering is a breakout trend according to Google.
How we instruct computers is evolving into AI prompts.
Our interaction with computers, Human Computer Interface (HCI), is about to change forever. Let’s take a look at the progression:
- Punched cards: humans provide instructions to computers using holes on a stiff card that shows the presence or absence of digital data 🤯
- Assembly Language: humans provide instruction in computer code-like language directly to the computer’s hardware
- C programming: humans can finally code with a slightly more natural language that is compiled into computer instructions
- GUI: graphical way to instruct computers with point and click on desktop, and then taps on mobile devices.
- Java, Swift, and recent programming languages: a better and friendlier abstraction of writing code for multiple computer devices
- APIs: microservices now allow developers to easily integrate different pieces of code
- Github Co-pilot: AI can provide input on writing error-free and well-commented code
- Prompt Engineering: instructing computers in plain, conversational English in a chat-like interface
With advances in LLMs (Large Language Models) like GPT 3, GPT-3.5, and GPT-4; Prompt Engineering will take us to a place where less expertise is required to instruct computers.
This enables people with less technical skills to provide advanced instructions to computers which levels the playing field for tech vs non-tech knowledge workers.
Writing great AI prompts is about having a conversation.
Firstly, it’s important to recognize that Generative AI, especially ChatGPT, is not like a chatbot that simply answers a specific question and ends the conversation.
Instead, it is your assistant or a junior colleague to have an ongoing conversation with.
Therefore, engaging in an ongoing conversation with ChatGPT is much more effective than simply asking a point question.
A. Having a conversation
There are likely skills that you might already have that can help you write great prompts with Generative AI:
- How to have an ongoing text conversation
- How to provide context
- How to ask curious questions
- How to go back and improve an earlier point that was made in the conversation
B. Crafting your ChatGPT prompts
Here are some ways of developing effective prompts that I have found useful.
- Provide a goal: Clearly outline the information you’re seeking or the task you want the AI to perform.
- Start broadly and provide context: Including relevant background information and context in your prompt allows the AI to understand the scope and purpose of your request. This is a bit like “training” your AI model.
- Include constraints and guidelines: When crafting your prompt, it can be helpful to include explicit constraints and guidelines like response format, word count, or any other requirements relevant to your task.
- Experiment with options and variations: don’t be afraid to ask for options, and experiment with different questions and approaches. This invariably lead to better results.
- Keep it going with ‘Chain Of Thoughts’: Have an ongoing conversation..experts call it ‘Chain of Thoughts’ approach. You can return to the exact chat window to continue the conversation at anytime.
In terms of output variations, you can ask ChatGPT to output code, a table, or even a CSV (comma-separated value) file that you can copy into a spreadsheet.
C. Bringing it all together
To illustrate the above points, let’s use an example.
Let’s say you are trying to write a marketing copy for Product X.
Here’s an example of how to write an effective AI prompt using the guidelines we discussed above:
- Have an ongoing conversation, like “Today we are going to work on marketing for our product X. Here is some information about the product….”
- Define a goal, but start a broad conversation before getting specific. For example, you can start with “Hey, I’m thinking of writing a marketing copy for X…what are the different categories of information we should include?”
- Ask ChatGPT to provide scenarios and options to choose from. For example, you can say “What are the most important customer objections that we should consider for writing marketing copy on this topic? Give me a comprehensive and exhaustive list.”
- By choosing from options, you curate the output toward what you want: “I like 1, 3, 4, 7, and 9 from this list. Let’s keep those and discard the rest. Now give me detailed descriptions and examples of these customer objections.”
- Ask ChatGPT to produce the output in different ways that helps to reach your goal. For example, use “Write the marketing copy in three different styles: Don Draper, Ogilvy, and Steve Jobs.”
Now you have great marketing copy written in the style of some of the greatest minds ever!
By following these guidelines and incorporating ongoing conversation, specificity, and context, you can create effective prompts that maximize the potential of Generative AI to help you with your tasks.
So, go ahead and start chatting with ChatGPT as an AI assistant!
May the force be with you 🙂