When transformative technology comes up, it's important to recognize how important it might become in the future. The Web was such a technology. Web 2.0 also was for software developers, just like Docker and Kubernetes.
You don't want to be a late adopter when it comes to transformative technology. Sure, you will probably still be able to learn about it later on, but it also means that you'll miss the earliest and (maybe) the biggest opportunities.
When I was a kid, I couldn't stop thinking about the impact that the Internet would have on the world. It just blew my mind. What I found even more impressive was how many people around me (e.g., family and friends) failed to understand what was happening.
I felt the same way a few times since. For example, when browser extensions became a thing, when Android became popular, etc. I felt it too back in 2015-2016 with technologies like Docker and the TypeScript programming language, and more recently with DALL-E and Stable Diffusion.
Each time I felt that way, I understood that those technologies were worth my time. I was lucky to figure that out early enough, allowing me to stay "ahead" of the game. That is, learn enough to be able to act as a "specialist" for those around me. This helped me stay relevant and increased my value on the job market.
Today, even though it's already late in some sense, ChatGPT gives me the same feeling. GPT-4 is a huge step forward, and it is certainly a transformative technology. Each time I have a "conversation" with ChatGPT, I get valuable information in return. And the more I use it, the more I realize how valuable it is. I now rely on ChatGPT for many things:
- Software development (from architecture to bug fixing)
- Content creation: writing, editing, adversarial writing (exploring pros and cons, weaknesses in my arguments, different points of view, etc)
- Learning: research, analysis, summarization
- Personal questions
- Finding recipes
- Exploring health and nutrition (e.g., finding ideas, recommendations, explanations)
- Get sports training advice
- Organizing events
In the past, my Google-fu helped me find information efficiently. Being able to find combinations of precise terms on specific Websites was key to getting to the answers I needed. Today, I need to complement my Google-fu with ChatGPT-fu. I strongly believe that the ability to have good conversations with AIs will become an important skill for productivity.
I strongly believe that the ability to have good conversations with AIs will become an important skill for productivity
To me, the ability to have good conversations with AIs goes beyond prompt engineering. Prompt engineering is just one of many steps in a conversation. We need to be able to set the stage, give the AI a specific "role" (i.e., persona), clear instructions, and ask clear questions. Once we get an answer back, we need to consider the conversation as a whole, and follow up with additional prompts to drive the AI toward the precise answers we are after. The major difference between that and a normal conversation is that precision is essential, and there's no ego in front of us, no emotions. Conversational AIs are like babies with superhuman minds. They have many answers, but we have to find our way to those.
Conversational AIs are like babies with superhuman minds. They have many answers, but we have to find our way to those.
No matter how we "feel" about the technology, AIs like ChatGPT are here to stay, and chances are that they will quickly multiply in the future. As the technology matures and more "players" enter the game (hey Bard), we are bound to face such AIs more and more in our lives.
In addition, I'm certain that those will start being integrated into many layers of our society, in subtle or less subtle ways. So the sooner we invest into our "AI conversational skills", the better off we'll be!
That's it for today! ✨
Hello everyone! I'm Sébastien Dubois. I'm an author, founder, and CTO. I write books and articles about software development & IT, personal knowledge management, personal organization, and productivity. I also craft lovely digital products 🚀
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