Prompt engineering is a fascinating new field that combines artificial intelligence, copywriting, logical thinking and creativity. But what skills and tools are needed to become a prompt engineer? Is it really a position that will take hold in almost all companies, or is it more of a temporary need related to the growing AI technology?

What is prompt engineering and why is it influential for e-business?

Prompt engineering is a new area related to the creation and optimization of so-called prompts, or commands directed to artificial intelligence models. The idea is to get the desired, meaningful and precise response from the AI model through the proper formulation of a query or instruction.

For example, you can:

  • ask the chatbot to generate advertising text,
  • give the artificial intelligence the task of creating an illustration depicting employees in an office,
  • guide the model on the tasks it should perform when analyzing customer data sent via the API.

The creators of ChatGPT, OpenAI, announced in September 2023 that with the release of DALL-E 3, the latest model for generating images, prompt engineering has become unnecessary. As they write:

“Modern text-to-image conversion systems tend to ignore words and descriptions, forcing users to learn prompt engineering. DALL-E 3 represents a step toward the ability to generate images that exactly match the text provided.”

Open AI has made great progress in this area by teaching ChatGPT to accurately describe images. As a result, it can convert a simple prompt typed into a chat window into an elaborate description, and then generate a great image based on that. But does such a solution – artificial intelligence writing prompts for artificial intelligence – mean the end of prompt engineering in business? It seems that the diagnosis was still premature in September.

Another dose of hope and doubt for aspiring prompt engineers was added by the DevDay conference organized by Open AI on November 6, 2023. Among other things, it showcased the Assistants API, a system for creating AI assistants within custom applications, as well as GPTs, a role-building capability to be performed by ChatGPT.

Prompt engineering

Source: OpenAI (https://openai.com/blog/introducing-gpts)

For companies, precision prompt engineering means huge opportunities. This is because it lets AI models better understand business and customer needs, and thus provide answers tailored to the questioner’s expectations. Prompt engineering is not just one-sentence instructions but also extended conversations that help clarify business solutions, test software, or analyze complex data sets. Despite the technological sophistication of ChatGPT, neither Google Bard nor Bing can decipher how to accomplish such tasks from a simple command.

What are the duties and responsibilities of a prompt engineer?

Prompt engineer is a brand-new position with specialists involved in implementing prompt engineering techniques in companies. Their main tasks are to design, test and improve prompts directed to artificial intelligence models.

An equally important area of the prompt engineer’s work is identifying tasks in the company to improve performance with the help of artificial intelligence. This is because the work of a prompt engineer involves, among other things, working closely with individuals or teams:

  • creating technical, communications and marketing content,
  • developing and improving the product, as well as
  • involved in HR, recruitment, and data analysis.

A prompt engineer is constantly working to improve the quality and efficiency of the entire AI content generation process. To do his job effectively, he should keep his hand on the pulse of the latest trends in artificial intelligence and natural language processing, which have been changing recently with staggering speed.

A good prompt engineer experiments with different variations of prompts. He or she tests and analyzes the responses of AI models, and makes adjustments to best meet company and customer expectations. This is creative, analytical and interdisciplinary work.

Examples of application of prompt engineering in various industries

The possibilities for applying prompt engineering are vast, and here are some examples:

  • customer service – properly designed prompts allow you to assign appropriate roles and tasks to virtual assistants and chatbots, which in turn translates into contextual responses that not only solve customers’ problems, but also maintain the tone required by the company,
  • marketing – language models with the right prompts can create engaging advertising slogans, social media posts or product descriptions, as well as help develop and improve marketing strategies,
  • education – AI guided by efficient prompt engineering methods can design personalized learning paths tailored to each student’s needs and learning style, and most importantly, explain the reasoning that leads to the correct solution of tasks,
  • Software development and testing – precisely formulated prompts help create and test larger wholes and make AI tools suggest more effective solutions,
  • E-commerce automation – a prompt engineer can write guidelines so that the AI model generates descriptions for all products in the store based on specifications, images and reviews, and even additional seasonal guidelines, such as those related to Black Friday or Christmas.
Prompt engineering

Source: DALL-E 3, prompt: Marta M. Kania

How can prompt engineering help young entrepreneurs and freelancers?

Prompt engineering is also an opportunity for start-up businesses and freelancers. Here are some ways to use prompt engineering to grow your business:

  • facilitating the creation of offers – language models with appropriate prompts can support the writing of offers by combining the profile of the business with the expectations of a specific customer group, or even offers hyper-personalization, i.e. addressed to a single person,
  • generating business ideas – AI with the right prompts can suggest creative concepts for products, services or solutions to customer problems. It can also help find a niche in the market,
  • business mentoring – with skillful prompt engineering, you can create the character of an experienced mentor who will help you develop your business by answering your questions and concerns,
  • market analysis – prompts properly designed by the prompt engineer will enable AI models to thoroughly analyze trends, competition and consumer preferences.

Tools and technologies used by prompt engineers

The work of prompt engineers is based on the use of advanced technologies and tools, and above all on the ability to combine them to get the best result. These include:

  • language models (LLMs) such as GPT-4, Llama 2, Claude 2 or PaLM 2 – the prompt engineer must be well acquainted with their operation and capabilities, as well as their strengths and weaknesses,
  • programming languages such as Python, using PyTorch or
  • TensorFlow libraries – allow AI models to be modified and taught,
  • APIs for AI models – for example, OpenAI APIs, which enable easy interaction with artificial intelligence and its integration with existing tools,
  • Data analysis and statistics tools – such as Google Analytics and Tableau support testing and optimizing the performance of AI models.

Navigating the world of freelancing and efficiently using platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr are also useful skills. Since the position of a full-time prompt engineer is still a rarity, they make it easier to find assignments and interesting projects that require prompting skills.

What skills are needed to become a prompt engineer?

To succeed as a prompt engineer, the ability to formulate thoughts with precision is crucial. It’s also useful to have analytical and creative thinking, which are essential when designing and testing different variations of AI prompts.

Knowledge of Natural Language Processing (NLP), and orientation to the ever-changing landscape of available AI models and their capabilities are also important.

Python programming will also come in handy on many projects and teamwork in all of them. After all, working as a prompt engineer means working closely with business and IT, marketing and HR departments. After all, writing the right prompt means translating the needs of others into a language that can be understood by a large language model (LLM). The ethics of the profession are also worth mentioning. By the scale of the impact of artificial intelligence, the prompt engineer must keep in mind the responsible and ethical use of AI technology.

The future of prompt engineering: how will the profession evolve?

Opinions on the future of prompt engineering are very divided. Some say that prompt engineers face a future full of interesting challenges, while others say it is a fad that will end in a year or two.

A bright future for prompt engineering

Many experts believe that despite its demanding professional profile, prompt engineering is one of the most promising trends in the AI industry. The demand for specialists in this field will continue to grow as language models become more common in companies. Job opportunities will be both as a full-time employee and as a freelancer or consultant. Despite the crazy development of artificial intelligence and its ability to understand our expressions and intentions, prompt engineering will not disappear so quickly and will be needed for many years to come for several reasons:

  1. You still have to write prompts to communicate requirements to AI. The AI is not able to read minds and we have to communicate with it using words.
  2. People are not good at communicating needs, so they need to learn how to do it effectively with prompts.
  3. Most people don’t know exactly what they want until they see it. That’s why prompts often need refinement.
  4. There are too many variables that AI has to take into account, so people have to tell it in the prompt.
  5. Creating a prompt helps clarify requirements and is valuable in itself.

In other words, prompt engineering will become more natural over time, but it will not disappear. Rather, it will be a skill that people will master intuitively.

Threats to the future of prompt engineering

On the other hand, there are claims that despite the strong interest in prompt engineering, its popularity may prove short-lived for several reasons. First, future generations of AI systems will increasingly understand natural language, making precisely engineered prompts less necessary. Second, new language models, such as GPT-4, are already doing well at formulating their own prompts, making prompt engineering potentially unnecessary. Third, the effectiveness of prompts depends on the specific AI algorithm, making them of limited utility across different AI models and versions.

The most versatile and enduring skill for realizing the potential of generative AI is problem formulation (the ability to identify, analyze and specify). It includes diagnosing the essence of an issue, decomposing complex problems, changing perspectives and designing constraints. Practicing these skills will help you better communicate with AI and guide it to solve specific challenges. Whether it be further prompt engineering or simply the ability to communicate with artificial intelligence.

Prompt engineering

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Prompt engineering. What does a prompt engineer do? | AI in business #42 robert whitney avatar 1background

Author: Robert Whitney

JavaScript expert and instructor who coaches IT departments. His main goal is to up-level team productivity by teaching others how to effectively cooperate while coding.

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