Ep 76 Why You Should Learn the Skill of Writing Prompts for Artificial Intelligence and How to Get Started

blog Nov 08, 2023

Episode 76 is all about why you need to learn the skill of writing prompts for artificial intelligence and how to get started.

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You're listening to the remote work retirement show. I'm your host, Camille Attell. And this is the only show that helps semi-retirees figure out the remote work options. I believe that remote work is the new retirement plan and that many retirees have both the ability and desire to work, how they want so they can live how they want.

Let's dig into today's episode.

Hello again, and I'm happy to say that I've finally passed this flu slash cold slash mystery thing that caused me to lose my voice. And not be able to record my podcast. Luckily it was AI to the rescue because I was able to use my artificial intelligence voice to record a short episode. And I'm grateful that I know how to use AI enough to be able to keep the lights on in my business.

AI is changing the game for me. And it can change the game for you too, if you let it.

So today we're going to talk about how to get started.

Now, if you've been listening to my show for a while or reading the show notes, then you know, I've been talking about this most of this year, and maybe you're not new. But regardless one thing that I think does stump people is how to write what are called prompts, to get AI, to give you the responses that you're looking for, no matter what tool that you're using.

And that's what we're going to talk about today. So really we're going to start with, what is a prompt? Is it important to know what that is? Some people have heard the term prompt, engineering and believe that this is a brand new Amazing job opportunity and that there's going to be a lot of hiring.

So we'll address that a little bit. So, let me back up and say, that if you don't yet have a chat GPT account, which I feel like a lot of people, at least the ones listening to this show already do, but I don't want to make any assumptions.

So if you haven't yet go to open AI and get your free chatty P T account, and that's enough to get you started. And then the next thing you're going to want to do is to start playing with it. But this is where I think people start to lose interest or get frustrated or feel like this is like, what's the big deal?

None of this is really exciting. And that's where knowing how to write an effective prompt. Some people call it a good prompt. But the word good is kind of subjective. For me, it's all about writing an effective prompt, and that's where writing an effective prompt can make all the difference for you.

So let's start with what is a prompt anyway, and simply put the prompt.

Is the text that you type or say into an AI system? Yes. You can talk to your AI now. We'll, we'll talk about that in a future episode.

And what you do is you start by typing or saying that prompt into, let's say in this example, chatty PT, it could work for any AI. So when you open it up, you'll see a little bar at the bottom. Typically. If you were to think about how you search in Google, you would normally in Google search for something.

Well, what's different? Here is your prompt something. You want to ask a specific question so that you get a specific answer.

Another thing you can do aside from asking a specific question is to ask it to do something else like outline the steps to complete a task or write a piece of code for a website or any number of use cases. We'll talk about some of those today and in next week's episode. So that is how you use a prompt.

I want to talk. About why this is an important skill to learn. Why writing prompts is something that you should highly prioritize.

If you learn this one skill, you're going to know more than just about anybody out there.

You're going to know more than about nine out of 10 people. I'm just going to give you a real-world example. I was at a football game over the weekend. I don't love football, sorry. Oh my gosh. I feel like I just lost a lot of podcast listeners. I don't love football, but I go because my husband grew up with it and went to a college that, you know, they are big into football and all of his friends love it.

And so I was there talking about AI and, um, gosh, I was, I was just asking questions and sharing and I was showing them some of the cool stuff that we're doing inside of the AI skillet program, which is an AI skills program that I launched, uh, earlier this year. And they, none of them knew what I was talking about.

They. I mean, they knew about AI and they knew about chatty PT and they know that you could search on things and all of that, but nobody knew how to write a prompt. Nobody realized that you could generate images using AI original images. People were blown away that we were creating original videos using AI. And they were asking me questions like, well, how did you do it?

And how long did you take? And here's what's really cool about that is I know in my mind, it's not hard. In fact, it's easier than anything I've just about ever done. And it also only took about three minutes to produce some of these results, but they don't know that. And so for them, all of this stuff looks like magic and they're wowed with my AI skills, which is great. And I think this example represents how the majority of people still don't understand AI and certainly don't understand how to use it to their benefit. Which also means that a lot of employers don't know either. So when you know how to do something like produce some of the examples, I just talked about images, really cool answers to prompts, and videos, it wows employers or clients if you're in business for yourself.

So that is another reason why it is really important to learn this skill.

Now more important than learning how to write an AI prompt or using AI in general. Would be what we'll, we'll call soft skills. We'll put this in the soft skills category, and that would be to have the skills around connecting the dots. Or critical thinking or creative thinking. Because if you have those types of skills, which for you, creative types is probably really good news. Then it doesn't matter what the AI tools that you use are, and it doesn't even really matter if you know how to write an effective prompt. Because you're creative, you're going to figure it out.

And right now we are living in an era where AI is more about figuring things out because of. The tools are moving very quickly. Even the experts out there who know more than me, and there are certainly many of them. I can catch up to them quickly because I'm immersing myself in the tools every day.

And because I have the skills of critical thinking and creative thinking and connecting the dots. I can pick this stuff up quickly. So that when I moved from tool to tool, I could just go, oh, well, I already know how to do that in that tool. And now I can just use my brain to figure out how to do it in this tool. And so I think it's really proving the point that it's leveling the playing field.

So the more that you can immerse yourself in the tools and the skills, and then bring your soft skills. To the table. The more you learn not only will you learn, but again, you're just going to be light years away from most of the population.

Now, let me give you an example of what I mean in the real world, so that if you're not living in my world of AI, maybe this is something you can relate to. Let's say you like to cook. And, um, maybe you're even a really good cook. I don't know. I don't cook that much. So this is probably the worst example, but I feel like most people can relate.

So in your kitchen, you have maybe a pot, a pan, and a skillet. And you know, if you're real fancy, you got like an immersion blender. And some other fancy tools I don't even know. And you typically use a different type of cookware to cook something different. I know you're supposed to make the sauce in a saucepan and all of that.
But if you're like me and most people you've just got like a couple of things in your kitchen and you're always in a hurry. So I use kind of the same two things over and over again.

I use like one kind of big pan and maybe a smaller skillet. And I just use those things for everything. And I've kind of trained myself to cook a lot of things with those two tools. So like if I make a stir fry, I'm probably using my skillet and I'm not using a wok. I think I have a walk somewhere in the garage, but I never go get it.

I probably should, but like, I don't have time. Right. So I've taught myself how to stir fry in a skillet or a pan, or if I want to make a soup. I'm probably going to do that in a small pot. And not bring out some giant, you know, fancy soup pot. And so I use this point to illustrate how I have to be creative, even the tools that I have to produce the kind of meal that I want. And that to me, is hopefully proving, uh, or giving you an example of how you can think about AI tools.

You don't need to learn all the tools. You don't need to learn all the skills. You just need to know how to use the skills you have and transfer them from tool to tool to tool. And if you can do that, then none of this is going to be that hard for you. Maybe in the beginning. Because you got to learn how to use a couple of things, but after that, it just gets easier and easier. And that is something that we're seeing inside of the AI skillet.

The program, I just mentioned that I launched earlier this year is we are all teaching each other and learning and helping each other and figuring out how to get the prompts. Right. Et cetera. And so on. Okay. Now, let me shift gears quickly and talk about prompt engineering, because this is something that, um, It's kind of been a bit of a debate for a while.

Prompt engineering is essentially a job title that describes, uh, someone who would be hired to write prompts. And for a while now it's been all the rage everybody's talking about. Oh, the next big thing is prompt engineering. But I've done, quite a bit of research on this and there's really kind of, I guess, two big debates around this.

And one is yes. Prompt engineering is a thing, especially right now but there's just as much debate on the other side that says, okay, but it's not a real job. And the reason why is. The job will probably not last long because the AI tools just get better and better, which means your ability or your need to write a prompt or engineer a prompt is less and less important. Because a new tool starts to do the work for you. And I'll give you a prompt in a moment.

You know, what the heck it is. I'm even talking about it. But right now, we're at a point where knowing how to write a good prompt or an effective prompt is important. Especially, I think it's great to teach yourself how to do this again. So you can use this variety of tools, but as the tools improve. As they become more advanced as the language models get faster and faster and, and learn to, um, anticipate what you're going to ask it or how you think. The less, you need to know how to quote-unquote engineer a prompt. And so there's a debate out there that says this idea of a prompt engineer job that pays $300,000 a year.

That's kind of what people keep talking about is that it probably won't last. And the reason why I want to bring that point up is because. I would not encourage you to go back to school and spend thousands and thousands of dollars to become a prompt engineer. Because it's probably not going to last, just like, and I, I, I can't remember who said this.

I heard someone talk about this, so it's not my original thought. Just like the concept of being a web designer lasted for a while. And then got replaced with all these web platforms that can build websites using drag and drop features. It hasn't exactly put web designers completely out of business, but it made the skills that they needed to know less important because now, the average person can build a website using some pretty basic features.

I can build a website but I am not a coder and I don't know any fancy programs like CSS or HTML. Will I build the most amazing website? No, but can I do it? Yes. And that is a really good example of how., some people think prompt engineering will end up. So. I feel like
I'm saying a lot of mumbo-jumbo.

So let me just put it in plain terms. You need to be using AI. Chatty BD is a great place to start. The first thing you need to do when you get in there is start asking questions and then learning how to write an effective prompt. You could start with something basic, like asking it how to do something.

For example, um, I'm trying to eat on the Mediterranean diet or meal plan. As a basic prompt. I think I started with give me some meal ideas that I could make on the Mediterranean diet. And then it would just populate these different meals. And that was great. In the beginning. I thought that was really cool. Then I started learning how to write an effective prop. So let me tell you how I do this differently now.

Now when I write a prompt, I know that the more detail that I put in the prompt, the better the response will be.

So, let me contrast what I just said to you, which was giving me some ideas for some Mediterranean diet meals to how I would write that pump today. Today I wrote, that I would like a five-day dinner meal plan based on the Mediterranean diet. Please do not include any dairy or gluten and have these meals take less than 20 minutes to make.
Please put this into a table with the date of the week as the header.

Here are some examples of things I do like salads and one-pot meals. I'm a busy professional. I don't have a lot of time for meal prep. And by the way, can you please act as the role of a meal planner? Okay, that was a mouthful. And I think if you're listening to this podcast, instead of reading the show notes, that's a lot to take in and you might be thinking, wow, that, how would I ever remember how to write that prompt?

Well, a couple of things, I built what I call my personal prompt model. It's called clear. C L E A R and the C is context. The L is logistics. E are examples of an audience as a role. Don't worry about that. I'll talk about it in next week's episode, I'll go through that in detail. And what I've done is I've trained myself, how to use my own prompt model. So that eventually, I won't need to.

So I'm only using it for a while until the skills become a part of everything I do. Just like you have the skills to do the things you do now and you don't even have to think about it anymore. Again, maybe, maybe you're a chef and you just know how to make things without reading a recipe. That would be a good example, right?

Or you know how to play music without looking at a chord chart. These are part of who you are now. And so writing an effective prompt is now a part of who I am, but in the beginning, I needed a model to teach me how to do it. And so in next week's episode, as I mentioned, I'll teach you more about that.

Okay, we're going to leave it there this time.

And next week, as I mentioned, I will dig deeper into the clear prompt model and I'll give it to you so that you can have some fun with it and try it out for yourself. I hope you enjoy today's episode.

If you're looking to learn more about artificial intelligence and how to use it in practical ways, that will help you get a better job. Keep a job, start a side business, or make income in new ways. Then join the wait list for my next round of the AI skillet opening in November 2023.

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