Dreaming with AI: Composing Clement Prompts for Neural Networks



By CapitalThink



November 25, 2023

NOVEMBER 25, 2023

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming how we live and work.

As AI capabilities advance, demand is growing for professionals who deeply understand these technologies and can create high-quality prompts to get the most out of them. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of AI and give you the knowledge and skills to become an expert AI prompt writer.

Understanding AI

AI refers to computer systems that can perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, and decision-making. There are several approaches to creating AI:

- Machine learning uses statistical models and algorithms that improve with more data. Popular machine learning methods include deep learning neural networks, reinforcement learning, and Bayesian inference.

- Knowledge representation encodes facts about the world using logic, ontologies, and rules. This allows drawing inferences and reasoning.

- Robotics focuses on giving machines the ability to physically interact with the world through sensors and actuators.

- Computer vision enables computers to interpret and understand digital images and videos. This allows AI systems to identify objects, scenes, and activities.

- Natural language processing (NLP) teaches computers to understand, interpret, and generate human language. Key NLP capabilities include translation, sentiment analysis, and speech recognition.

- Expert systems emulate the decision-making ability of a human expert for specialized domains like medical diagnosis. They contain a knowledge base of facts, rules, and heuristics.

Many AI systems combine multiple techniques to create versatile, multi-skilled intelligence. For example, a self-driving car uses computer vision, knowledge representation, machine learning, robotics, and NLP.

Current AI capabilities are classified as narrow or general intelligence:

- Narrow AI excels at a single specialized task in a well-defined domain, such as playing chess, filtering spam, or recommending products.

- General AI aims to replicate a wide range of human cognitive abilities. While no general AI systems exist yet, this remains an aspiration for many researchers.

Understanding these AI approaches and capabilities will inform your ability to create effective prompts.


Key AI Technologies

Let's dive deeper into some of the most important AI technologies used today:

Machine Learning

Machine learning algorithms uncover patterns in data to make predictions or decisions without explicit programming. Two common types are:

Supervised learning - Models are trained on labeled example input-output pairs to learn the relationship. Common tasks include classification and regression.

Unsupervised learning - Models must find structure in unlabeled, uncategorized data. Clustering and dimensionality reduction are examples.

Deep Learning

Deep learning uses multi-layered artificial neural networks inspired by the biological brain. It has fueled major advances in computer vision, NLP, and more. Key advantages include handling complex data like images, video, and speech. Top deep learning models include CNNs, RNNs, transformers, and GANs.

Computer Vision

Computer vision extracts useful information from digital images and videos. Applications include:

Image classification - Labeling images based on their visual content.

Object detection - Finding where objects are located in an image and labeling them.

Image segmentation - Grouping image pixels that belong together.

Image generation - Creating realistic artificial images and videos.

Natural Language Processing

NLP enables computers to parse, understand, and generate written and spoken language. Main capabilities include:

Sentiment analysis - Identifying positive, negative or neutral opinions in text.

Text summarization - Generating a shorter version of a long text while retaining key information.

Machine translation - Automatically translating text between languages.

Speech recognition - Transcribing spoken audio to text.

Natural language generation - Producing written or spoken language from data.


Robotics focuses on mechanically actuated machines that can interact with the environment. It combines principles of computer science, engineering, and physics. Key components in robotics include:

Sensors - Input data about the environment such as cameras, lidars, and touch sensors.

Actuators - Mechanical parts that manipulate and move the robot like arms, wheels, and grippers.

Embedded systems - Microcontrollers that process sensor data and control actuators.

Navigation and positioning - Enables locating the robot and planning routes to avoid obstacles.

Robotics applications range from autonomous vacuum cleaners to sophisticated industrial automation. Advanced robots can be trained via machine learning and leverage computer vision and NLP.

Knowledge Representation

Knowledge representation empowers AI systems to use categorized facts about the world for reasoning and drawing inferences. Main techniques include:

Logical rules - IF-THEN statements useful for chaining reasoning steps.

Semantic networks - Concepts linked by labeled relationships to form a graph.

Ontologies - Formal specifications of conceptual entities and their properties.

Machine readable dictionaries - Definitions of words, concepts, and named entities.

Modern systems blend statistical machine learning with knowledge representation for robust semi-symbolic reasoning.

Generating AI Content

A major use of AI today is automatically generating written content, images, audio, and video. This leverages natural language generation, computer vision, and other capabilities. Key generative AI categories are:

Large language models - Text generation systems trained on vast text data like GPT-3 and ChatGPT.

Text-to-image - Creating images from text captions like DALL-E and Midjourney.

Text-to-3D - Generating 3D models and scenes from text like Nightcafe and Claude.

Text-to-video - Producing video clips from text descriptions.

Audio generation - Creating realistic human speech and music from text.

Image/video-to-image - Altering existing visual media via cues.

As these models advance, prompt engineering skills become crucial to guide the output.

Emerging Trends

AI is a rapidly evolving field. Some leading areas of innovation include:

Self-supervised learning - Models learn representations from unlabeled data.

Multimodal learning - Combining different data modes like text, audio, and images.

Explainable AI - Algorithms that reveal the reasoning behind their results.

AI for science - Automating scientific experiments and discoveries.

Causal learning - Discovering cause-and-effect relationships from observations.

Symbolic AI - Blending neural networks with formal logical reasoning.

AI safety - Developing AI that is safe, secure, and benefits humanity.

Prompt engineering must account for these trends to stay relevant.

Becoming an AI Prompt Writing Professional

Prompt engineering is key to maximizing the capabilities of today's advanced generative AI systems. Follow these steps to become an expert AI prompt writer:

Learn the Fundamentals

- Study the AI landscape andstay updated on the state-of-the-art technologies. Learning resources include papers, tutorials, online courses, and code repositories.

- Master the principles of prompt engineering and the techniques for different AI categories like text-to-image and large language models.

- Understand how factors like temperature, top-p, and stop sequences affect generative AI outputs for different systems.

Practice Extensively

- Experiment extensively with leading AI models by writing diverse prompts and analyzing the results.

- Start a prompt journal to log successes and failures. Record prompt phrasing, parameters, and outputs.

- Find a mentor or prompt writing community to get feedback and collaborate. Participate in prompt engineering challenges.

- Try making prompts for a wide range of applications like creative fiction, research paper summaries, SEO content, logo design, 3D object generation, and more.

Refine Your Style

- Develop your own distinct prompting style and voice. Write prompts conversing naturally in plain language.

- Master techniques like descriptive specificity, conversational tone, show don't tell, and creativity triggers.

- Learn to break down complex prompts into simpler, sequential steps.

- Write templates for common prompt structures you can reuse and build on.

Upgrade Your Skills

- Stay updated on the capabilities and signature features of new AI systems and major model updates.

- Extend your skills to new modalities like text-to-video, text-to-3D, text-to-code, and text-to-music as they emerge.

- Learn to make prompts that invoke specific styles, artists, genres, and knowledge domains.

- Practice adversarial techniques to find blindspots and improve prompt safety.

Build a Portfolio

- Curate a portfolio of your best prompt samples for different AI models, modalities, and applications.

- Document the process used to engineer each portfolio prompt. Capture lessons learned.

- Share your portfolio online to establish expertise and get more feedback from peers.

- Contribute thoughtful prompt ideas and techniques to the community.

Finding Prompt Writing Jobs

Once you build expertise in AI prompting, many career options become available. Some ways to monetize your skills:

- Sell pre-made prompts in online markets and stores. Offer bundles by specialty.

- Provide customized prompt writing as a freelancer. Advertise your services on AI talent platforms.

- Work for generative AI startups. Help improve their systems' capabilities.

- Teach prompt engineering through blogs, courses, workshops, and 1:1 mentoring.

- Speak about prompt writing at conferences and meetups. Get exposure.

- Write books and in-depth guides on prompting best practices.

- Do prompt consulting, auditing, and troubleshooting for enterprises.

- Join an AI prompter collective. Collaborate on client projects.

The demand for prompt engineering talent will only grow as more companies embrace AI generation. There are many exciting opportunities in this emerging field for skilled prompt writers.

Prompt Engineering Tips and Best Practices

Follow these prompt engineering techniques to create optimal inputs for generative AI systems:

Clear Framing

- State the desired goal or output unambiguously at the start.

- Provide relevant context and background if needed.

- Be specific about medium (text, image, etc.), style, and purpose.

- Set the stage before giving detailed instructions.

Descriptive Specifics
- Give vivid descriptive details to convey what you want.

- Use adjectives and adverbs judiciously to add useful modifiers.

- Define abstractions concretely through illustrative examples.

- Stimulate different senses with details of look, sound, taste, smell, feel.

Mindset Triggers

- Use quotes, role-playing, scenarios, and imaginative framing to induce mindsets.

- Phrase prompts as creative brainstorming activities.

- Provide inspirational quotes from masters of the domain.

- Ask AI to channel a specific artist, expert, fictional character, etc.

Sequential Steps

- Break down complex prompts into numbered step-by-step instructions.

- Ensure each step is concrete and self-contained. 

- Use clarifying terms like "First", "Next", "Then".

- Add illustrations and examples for each step.

Conversational Voice

- Use natural language, not terse keywords. Write full fluent sentences.

- Adopt a casual tone like chatting with a friend. 

- Pose questions and suggestions rather than demands.

- Add polite modifiers like "please", "kindly", "if possible".

Show, Don't Tell

- Give vivid examples of what you want instead of explaining.

- Provide sample titles, headlines, phrases that exemplify the request.

- Cite existing works that epitomize the desired style or quality.

- Give edge cases and counter examples of what to avoid.

Test and Iterate

- Start with simple prompts and increase complexity gradually.

- Conduct A/B testing of prompt variations.

- Tweak prompts based on the AI's output until satisfactory.

- Maintain a prompt journal to support iterative refinement.

Creativity Hacks

- Introduce random constraints to inspire creative possibilities.

- Combine disparate domains and ideas for novelty.

- Use metaphorical and analogical framing.

- Add "surprise me" requests to prompt serendipity.

Prompt Safety

- Avoid harmful, unethical, dangerous, or illegal requests.

- Check outputs for accuracy, fairness, bias, and factual correctness.

- Use a code of ethics or set of principles to guide appropriate use.

- Adopt a "minimal risk" mindset focused on societal benefit.

This summarizes proven strategies and best practices used by top prompt engineers. With experimentation and experience, you can develop your own signature prompting style. The key is practice, persistence, and continuously refining your approach.

Example Prompts

Here are some sample prompts illustrating best practices for different AI applications:

Creative Fiction Prompt

"Imagine you are a famous novelist challenged to write a new short fantasy story titled 'The Cloud City'. Let your creativity flow freely. Begin the story with this sentence: The glass towers of the cloud city glimmered like rainbows as the sunlight filtered through the misty sky. Next, describe the city's breathtaking skyline and the magical culture of its residents. Populate the city with colorful characters and invent creative elements like flying vehicles, mythical beasts, and political intrigue. Craft poetic descriptions using vivid sensory details to transport the reader into this world. Provide an whimsical plot twist halfway through the story. Conclude the story satisfyingly by resolving the central conflict. Write this fantastical short story creatively as if you are a master fantasy author. Feel free to take the narrative in unexpected directions. Aim for approximately 500 lyrical words."

Marketing Content Prompt 

"Write a 300 word blog post for a digital marketing agency titled '10 Tips for Creating Viral Content'. Make the tone conversational, fun, and engaging. Provide actionable advice for amateur content creators who want their writing and videos to go viral online. Share insider strategies and lessons from analyzing successful viral content. Cover fundamentals like emotion induction, social currency, community building, understanding one's audience and more. Format the post as a numbered list with each tip being 2-3 sentences. Break down complex ideas into easily digestible tidbits. Include a catchy intro and conclusion. Sprinkly fun meme references and jokes throughout to add humor. Use subheaders like 'Master Emotional Storytelling' and 'Leverage Influencer Power'."

Data Visualization Prompt

"Please design an engaging infographic that visualizes global population trends. Display populations for each continent over the past 50 years using creative charts and graphs. Use colors and illustrations reflective of each continent. Include statistics on fertility rates, life expectancy, migration flows. Break complex demographic data into easily understandable visuals. Present 3 key insights on how data predicts the populations in 2050. The infographic should balance aesthetics and information. Make it visually stunning as well as insightful."

Research Summary Prompt

"Please write a 250 word plain language summary of the key findings from the research paper 'Machine learning for combinatorial optimization: a methodological tour d’horizon' published in European Journal of Operational Research in 2020. Focus on clearly explaining the core scientific contributions without technical jargon. Summarize the novel algorithms developed and results achieved in language an educated layperson can understand. Include brief explanations of mathematical notions like heuristics and combinatorial spaces using simple real world analogies. Provide enough context to appreciate the significance of the research. Please cite the original paper. The goal is conveying the essence of this complex ML research concisely and accessibly."

Using these models, you can craft excellent prompts for other applications like SEO content, product descriptions, code generation, and more. The key is smoothly integrating the prompting elements described earlier. With practice, you will master prompt engineering.

Midjourney Prompt Guide

Midjourney is a leading AI system that generates stunning artwork and images from text prompts. Here are tips for effective Midjourney prompting:

- Specify size (512x512, 256x256, 1024x1024 etc) and style (photorealistic, abstract, minimalist etc)

- Provide detailed descriptions of objects, scenes and characters

- Use comparisons to well-known visual styles and cultural references

- Suggest color palettes, lighting, atmospherics and textures

- Add storytelling context, emotions and personality traits

- Request versions from alternate angles, distances and compositions

- Ask for renditions with and without specific elements

- Be imaginative yet offer concrete creative constraints

- Iterate on prompts quickly based on initial results

Here are some example Midjourney prompts:

"A cute, fluffy brown puppy with floppy ears, looking up adorably. Highly detailed fuzzy fur, in the style of a dog show photograph."

"A mighty dragon with dark green scales and massive wings, protectively embracing a delicate purple crystal orb emitting a pulsing glow. Treasure hoard, mystical lighting, rendered in a painterly fantasy style."

"The Eiffel Tower sprouting brightly colored mushrooms at the base. Clear blue sky, soft lighting, depth of field blur, CCTV camera style."

These prompts leverage many of the best practices covered to generate evocative, intricately detailed images.

ChatGPT Prompt Guide

ChatGPT is an AI conversational agent that can answer questions, hold dialogs, and explain concepts at an expert level. Useful ChatGPT prompting ideas:

- Ask followup questions to go deeper on a topic

- Provide personal examples and analogies to explain complex concepts simply

- Outline the structure desired for long-form responses

- Roleplay as specific personalities or fictional characters

- Invite critique of initial drafts for iterative improvement

- Facilitate creative brainstorming and ideation

- Request summaries of books, research papers and long articles

- Get rephrasings of complex sentences in simpler language

- Ask for corrections of grammar, spelling and clumsy wording

- Seek creative metaphors and analogies for abstract concepts

- Propose hypothetical scenarios to test the boundaries of knowledge

Smart prompting enables natural, engaging conversations spanning information, ideation and inspiration.


The demand for prompt engineering talent is rising rapidly. If you methodically build your expertise in the latest AI technologies, apply prompt engineering techniques, and curate a portfolio of high-quality prompts, many promising career avenues can open up in this emerging field. We are just beginning to tap into AI's vast generative potential through prompt engineering.

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