I attended a session this week at SXSWEdu titled “Automation, Imagination, & the New Way to Work.” Paula Intravaia and Holly Morey were the instructors. Paula is a course designer and instructor at the University of San Diego and co-founder and Managing Partner at Cloud Club Collective. Holly is a program manager in Universal Transitional Kindergarten Programs. She is also a partner in the Cloud Club Collective.
Paula and Holly took the audience through an exercise where we voted on characters from present time and the past to construct an ai-generated conversation with them. The class and instructors ultimately voted to have the conversation between Malcolm X and Beyonce. The instructors used Hello History ai for Malcom X’s responses and ChatGPT for Beyonce’s.
Before the class conducted the exercise, we were introduced to the concept of “prompt engineering.” The instructors credited the idea to Don Norman, a legend in design and professor at the University of San Diego. He is also a co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group, researchers in user experience design. Ms. Intravaia and Ms. Morey played a video made by Professor Norman in which he downplayed artificial intelligence by leading off with the statement that the word artificial tells you all you need to know. AI is not equivalent to human intelligence and needs humans to guide it. He proceeded to discuss how he used an AI design application to draw pictures for him but had to learn how to instruct the AI to draw the pictures the way he wanted them drawn.
I like the term “prompt engineering” and I think it aptly describes how to use most of the available AI tools. According to our instructors, Professor Norman maintains that there are three primary steps for proper prompt engineering. These are: Preparation, Illumination, and Validation. They interject another step between preparation and illumination which is Incubation and recommended taking a few minutes to relax your mind before submitting the query or prompt to the AI tool.
It’s clear that AI is here to stay and, as Ms. Intravaia and Ms. Morey stated, you might as well figure out how to work with it. I’ve focused on ChatGPT since early January and continue to learn how to use it better through trial and error as well as tips from friends. The session at SXSW made me aware of several other ai tools that educators are using. The following list was copied from a slide presented in the class.
Text-to-Image AI Platforms
Text-to-Video AI Platforms
Text-to-Audio AI Platforms
Text-to-Text AI Platforms
Text-to-Motion AI Platforms
Text-to-Code AI Platforms
Most of the AI Platforms and tools listed are not free. Most have a free trial period but after that, you’re going to have to pay to access them. I didn’t spend much time reviewing each of these tools, but plan to do so in the future. Since most of my work involves generating content, I will probably look at the Text-to-Text platforms first.
I’m sure that the class’s instructors did not provide us with a comprehensive list of available AI tools. Nonetheless, it was great to get a list of more than a dozen available AI tools. I plan to keep this list and add to it as I hear about other available AI tools. Meanwhile, Luddites should take heed and note that AI is not going away. For those of you interested in enhancing your career, it may pay to be familiar with these tools and how to hone your skills at prompt engineering. Good luck!