Questions and answers

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Questions and answers

The quality of the answer one gets often depends on the quality of the question or request that prompts it.

Take AI Chatbots for example. There's an entire new emerging field of work evolving that focuses on what are known as prompts. The better the prompt the better the answer.

I queried the AI bot about this very subject and here was what I got.

Good AI Prompt: Prompt: "Write a short story about a time-traveling detective solving a mysterious crime in Victorian London."

Resulting Answer: The time-traveling detective, armed with advanced technology from the future, navigated the foggy streets of Victorian London, following clues that led to a shadowy underworld where the culprit awaited. With a mix of cunning deduction and futuristic gadgets, the detective unraveled the mystery, bringing the criminal to justice and restoring order to the city.

Bad AI Prompt: Prompt: "Time travel story. Go."

Resulting Answer: The character travels through time. They do stuff.

Or, take your barber as another example. I don't like to pay a lot of money for haircuts so I go to one of the local chains where I get a different barber each time. If I just say "give me a light trim", I can go from a decent haircut to looking like I just enlisted in the Army. If I improve my prompt to, "I like it full and touching my ears. Just trim up the excess and help me walk out of here not looking like I had a haircut", the results are almost always consistent.

Here's another example more close to home. If I ask one of our engineers to design for me a low distortion, low noise, line amplifier that passes 10kHz square waves without ringing, they can whip that out in a matter of hours with the implementation of an off the shelf op amp chip. If I add to that the simple prompt, "and, it has to sound better than the line amp we currently use", the entire project changes scope. Now, we're into architectural questions that fundamentally change everything.

When you call customer service, when you ask for help, when you pose a question on the forums, how the question is framed will inevitably shape the answer you receive.

If the answer you get doesn't match your expectations, it's probably more productive to reflect on your question than to criticize the answer.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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