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Generative AI



Creating prompts

Generative AI tools use prompts, which are text you enter as a question or statement to tell the tool what you want it to do. Rarely do you get the right result on the first try. Learning to write prompts well in ways that AI systems understand is a skill unto itself. Learning how to write prompts effectively will ensure success. Most of the time, one prompt alone isn't enough to come up with the right answer, and you have to engage in a back-and-forth conversation with the AI system. You will always have better results the more specific you are, the more context you give it about the writing you want it to do. Often, the best results are achieved when, rather than tell the AI you want it to do something, you instead ask it to role play a situation.

  • For example, instead of..."Write a 3 paragraph essay about The Great Depression and government policy."
  • Try, "You are an academic writer who has been tasked with writing a short 3 paragraph piece about the primary factors influencing government policy during The Great Depression. This article is intended for an audience of college educated readers who are not specialists in the topic, and will be an excerpt in a larger article about government economic policy more broadly. Make sure to contrast the different policies of the Hoover and Roosevelt Administrations, as well as underlying global factors."

By asking it to act a role, and giving it plenty cues, you will generally find much more productive results.

Think about including:

  • Specific requirements, for example “no jargon” or specific points you want covered in the answer
  • An audience, for example “for a 9th grade student”
  • Tone, for example “polite”, "informal"
  • Format, for example: bullet points, 10 topic ideas, one paragraph, table, number of words

3D render of a robot with green LED lights, bending slightly to reach the hand of an eagle mascot

Prompt: 3D render of a robot with green LED lights, bending slightly to reach the hand of an eagle mascot....
October 26, 2023