Issue #8 - The Harbinger of Change

April 14, 2023
Splendid Edition
In This Issue

  • We have a new section dedicated to using GPT-4 to get your job done (with real-world examples!)
  • How to write a better product pitch to lure in vain industry analysts
  • How to dodge useless meetings without giving away that you are totally lying
  • How to write a market report at a microscopic fraction of what analysis firms would charge you
  • How to write a blog post for a product announcement better than Google (OK, here the bar is very low)
  • How to lay off your employees with the style of a king

I hear you. You want to get better at using GPT-4 and LLaMA and MidJourney and Stable Diffusion and XYZ for your own job. I received a lot of requests about this.


I’m adding a new section to the Splendid Edition called Prompting.

There are two reasons why it’s called this way.

The first reason is that there’s little to no engineering in the “Prompt Engineering” you see on social media.

The term engineering is derived from the Latin ingenium, meaning “cleverness” and ingeniare, meaning “to contrive, devise.”

It’s not that prompt engineering doesn’t exist. It does, but it’s confined within the sharp virtual borders of PDF papers where academic research lives.

What you see ad nauseam on social media should be more appropriately called Prompt Regurgitation. Somebody found a prompt that works in a particular scenario, with a particular AI (more on this later), with a particular context and everybody else is repurposing it for everything, like gospel.

And, unsurprisingly, it doesn’t work.

Just this morning, before writing this Splendid Edition, I have seen somebody on LinkedIn re-sharing an article titled something like “912 prompts to remember”.

Last month the average was just 10. I assure you that, eventually, they will become 327,909,823 prompts to remember because every time one doesn’t work for a scenario, people add another.

And that is not prompt engineering. So I’m not going to call this section Prompt Engineering.

Also, “Engineering” is instantly intimidating. You are told that to use AI better you need to learn “Prompt Engineering” and you freak out immediately. Rightfully so.

And if you look at some material online that is supposed to help you, you have all the reasons to freak out. In many cases, it’s a wall of academic papers that are boring to death and as cryptic as hieroglyphs.

So, no.

The second reason why this new section is called Prompting is that, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, the word means “the act of trying to make someone say something”.

That’s it. That’s what we are really trying to do here.

The (invaluable) Chambers Dictionary of Etymology allows us to go deeper:

So, when we think about the interaction between humans and AI, one of the questions that we’ll have to answer in the future is “Who’s prompting who?”

But that’s for a future Splendid Edition fully dedicated to disinformation and manipulation.

Anyway. Prompting section. There. Happy now?


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