What is a prompt?

A prompt is a type of input that’s used in machine learning and AI. It’s a parcel of text, images or other information that communicates a human’s intention to an AI and helps direct its response so that it creates a useful desired output. 

Why are prompts important?

Prompting is how humans “talk” to AIs. It allows humans to tell AIs what outputs they want and how they want them. This can be done with words, images, audio, or video, although text is by far the most common method.

A helpful analogy: If someone wanted to tell a human sketch artist to create an image but lacked an example or only had a few examples to go on, it’s likely that the request would involve an attempt to describe the desired image and possibly some sketches or images similar to the desired image. Feeding prompts to AIs works in much the same way: when a human gives a prompt to an AI, the AI will then create an output, just as a human artist would.

But, as with human sketch artists, If the input is poor, the resulting sketch will likely not look like the thing being described, whereas if the input is good, the resulting sketch is likely to look not only realistic (like an actual person) but also accurate (like the specific person being described).

The key difference to understand is that AIs “understand” words, audio, and images differently than humans do. This means that without human intelligence and understanding of how to “talk” to AIs with effective prompts, the outputs tend to be poor. 

How do humans create effective prompts?

Sometimes it takes many attempts and rounds of feedback to fine-tune an AI’s output and achieve good results. The task of finding prompts that get the best results from the AI is known as prompt engineering

Learning how to craft and use AI prompts can help humans working in digital marketing and advertising to interact with machine learning models in ways that improve automated data analysis and expedite content creation.

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