Google Fu

I read an article talking about how “AI Prompt Engineering” (i.e. being able to get better results from AI tools via better wording of the requests) is going to be a skill worth hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on the job market.

This makes a ton of sense to me. An extremely powerful skill in the last ten years has been “being able to Google well.” Search engines always had their own language (and I’m not just talking about the more technical boolean prompts, but also how to word the prompts themselves to cut down on BS and improve usable responses), and in a way search engines were just baby AI.

If you were good at Googling, you were probably 5x more productive than someone with all your exact same skills except that one. AI is still going to follow “GI-GO” (“Garbage In, Garbage Out”) so being good at the sort of social engineering specific to AI is probably going to be worth even more leverage than it was with search engines.

People think that nerdy types are good at this sort of thing because we’re somehow tech-minded or all engineers or something, but that’s hogwash. Nerdy types are good at this sort of thing because at any given point, 20% of our brain is occupied by trying to figure out how to maximize the benefit of our wishes from evil genies who want to twist our words.

That’s a real thing we talk about. A lot. It’s a sort of game you can play, “Monkey’s Paw.” One person makes a wish, and the other person explains how they’d inflict the most terrible anguish on the other person while still staying within the exact letter of the request.

(For example, “I wish I could fly” could be met with “Okay, but you can’t stop or control your direction or speed, and therefore quickly end up dead in space.”)

AI is likely to have at least some overlap with the Monkey’s Paw, so be careful what you wish for. But if you are careful (and clever, and creative), then wish away!

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