Is Prompt Engineering Really Dead?

Is prompt engineering really headed for the graveyard as AI keeps getting smarter? Not a chance! In fact, I'd argue it's more critical than ever. Let me explain why.

The Myth of "Set It and Forget It" AI

A lot of people assume that as AI language models get more advanced, you'll just be able to punch in a prompt, sit back, and watch the model spit out flawless results all on its own. And sure, models like GPT-4 are scarily good compared to even a year or two ago. But that doesn't mean prompt engineering is obsolete - far from it.

Prompting an AI is a lot like telling an expert that works for you what to do. Let's say you have a crystal clear idea in your head of the output or task you want. Conveying that with just a few sentences to the AI can be extremely difficult, as the AI doesn't have the full context and shared understanding that's in your head. Crafting a prompt that communicates your intent precisely and gets the AI to produce exactly what you envisioned takes a lot of skill and expertise - which is exactly what prompt engineers specialize in.

So What Does a Prompt Engineer Really Do?

Crafting prompts isn't just a matter of telling the AI "do this" or "write that". To get expert-level outputs, you need an intimate understanding of how these giant language models actually work under the hood - how they process and represent knowledge, and the most effective ways to coax out the results you want.

A real prompt engineer is part coder, part linguist, part psychologist. They know how to:

  • Devise prompts that steer the model to generate highly specific responses
  • Grapple with the model's quirks and limitations to get the best outcomes
  • Spot and correct for biases and inconsistencies in the model's outputs
  • Constantly adapt their techniques as new models and modes of interaction emerge

Prompt Engineering Goes Multimodal

Text prompting is just the tip of the iceberg. As multimodal AI that can work with images, audio and video starts to hit the mainstream, prompt engineers will be essential for figuring out how to effectively query and direct these models to generate the results we need.

Prompting these more advanced modalities with language becomes even harder than with text alone. Describing a complex image you want the AI to generate, or a video you want it to edit, is extremely difficult with just words. Prompt engineers will need to continuously pioneer new techniques and hybrid approaches for communicating intent to AIs working with multimedia formats.

The Prompt Engineering Revolution Is Just Getting Started

So no, prompt engineering is very much alive and kicking. In fact, as AI models grow more sophisticated, having prompt engineering chops will only become more valuable and in-demand. It doesn't matter if you're wrangling words, visuals, or videos - if you can master the art and science of prompting, you'll be on the cutting edge of the AI revolution.

P.S. If you want to get a headstart, check out! I built it to help beginners start learning the ropes of prompt engineering in a hands-on way. But no matter how you get started, I'll see you out there on the frontiers of prompting!