The most successful profession and what it says about us

There are more or less sophisticated ways to define what a prompt engineer is.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
30 March 2024 Saturday 10:24
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The most successful profession and what it says about us

There are more or less sophisticated ways to define what a prompt engineer is. The consulting firm McKinsey defines it like this: it is the process of designing inputs (information contributions) for artificial intelligence tools with the aim of obtaining optimal outputs (results).

La Vanguardia first referred to prompt engineers a year ago. He defined them as “professionals in charge of designing and adjusting text inputs for AI language models.”

But, if we focus the issue on average users of models like ChatGPT or similar, an even simpler definition could be used: “People who help others ask the right questions to get the best possible answers.”

Since the term was coined a little over a year ago, prompt engineers have been placed, indifferently, among the elite of the new AI professionals or, conversely, in the bag of opportunistic jobs that will be eliminated. by the technological frenzy together with programmers and other savvy people in the digital orbit.

But, in any case, what the appearance of these AI assistants does make evident is that people generally have more difficulties than ever in articulating good questions.

It is assumed that there are large professional groups accustomed to asking questions, such as teachers, doctors, journalists, police officers... But there are reasons to suspect that some contemporary scourges such as the concentration deficit, the jibarization of the lexicon imposed by Social networks and, above all, the loss of the reading habit have diminished the ability of most people to articulate relevant questions.

That is, to put ourselves in the context to which we refer: people who are capable of obtaining high performance from tools as formidable as AI are relatively few.

The recovery of the reading habit in the midst of the tyranny of screens seems like a chimera today, at least as we had known it.

Appeals to the relevant role of literature in the formation of critical sense serve more as a mechanism of reaffirmation for those who still buy books – and read them – than as a siren song for deserters of the habit. But that doesn't mean we should never stop repeating them.

“The poet and the novelist make us know what is in us, but which we ignored because we lacked words,” writes Antoine Compagnon, pointing to the epicenter of the problem.

In his book What is literature for? (Acantilado, 2008), this literature professor aptly cites the critic Harold Bloom (“Only attentive and constant reading provides and fully develops an autonomous personality”) to conclude that “reading favors the formation of an independent personality, capable of going to meet the other.”

Of course, not everything begins or ends with literature. Art, theater, cinema and music are cultural manifestations that also invite us to ask ourselves what the author wanted to tell us. All of them come to our rescue when we feel kidnapped on the couch by substandard platforms that give us everything done.

Because immersion in the arts is the best training for skepticism, an indispensable attitude in times of systematized misinformation. Culture thus acts as an assistant that helps us to doubt, but also to express those doubts appropriately.

Regardless, the answer to the headline's question is probably yes. Prompt engineering will continue to be necessary due to the speed of technological changes and to get the most out of AI systems that will become increasingly complex.

Of course: this and other intelligent professionals will have to coexist with the community of persistent readers, capable of challenging the system from their own core like the characters in a Ray Bradbury novel.