Futurist Kevin Kelly says “there are no AI experts today” and it’s a great time to get into the field

Kevin Kelly believes this is a good time to get into the artificial intelligence field — but not because of the hype surrounding ChatGPT, the AI ​​chatbot that has more than 100 million active in just over 60 days of its November launch users gained per month.

Instead, Kelly — a futurist, author, and founding editor-in-chief of Wired magazine — thinks there aren’t any AI experts left from a decades-long perspective. This means that those entering the field now or in the near future will have plenty of time to make their mark.

“What we call AI won’t be considered AI years from now,” Kelly said in an interview shared this week on Noahpinion, a substack blog by economics commentator Noah Smith. “A meaningful implication of this is that if you look back 30 years, there are no longer any AI experts today. This is good news for anyone starting now, because you have just as many chances as anyone else to make breakthroughs and become the reigning pundits.”

Today, millions of people use “generative AI” tools like ChatGPT and Dall-E 2, which can achieve remarkable results with simple text prompts. The latter can produce sophisticated images, while the former can answer questions succinctly, write essays in a specific writing style, or generate computer code in different programming languages, among other things.

This first round of “primitive AI agents” are “best viewed as universal interns,” Kelly said. People use them to write rough drafts, propose code, summarize research, brainstorm, and so on.

AI Whisperer

Still, getting quality results isn’t necessarily easy.

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“It takes an extremely tight intimacy to get your internal AI to help you do a great job,” Kelly said. “Some people are 10x and 100x better than others with these tools. They have become AI Whisperers.”

In fact, one way to get into AI is as a “rapid engineer”. (The Washington Post recently profiled it.) These individuals develop prompts — or chains of prompts — to coax AI systems to achieve a desired outcome for a variety of purposes and industries.

It’s hardly an established field. One startup advertising a prompt engineer, Anthropic, noted in its job ad, “Given that the prompt engineering field is arguably less than two years old, this position is a bit difficult to fill.” The pay range is wide between $175,000 and $335,000.

The company, which makes ChatGPT Claude’s competitor and attracted a $300 million investment from Google last month, urged applicants to prove their skills by “spending some time experimenting with Claude… and to show that you’ve managed to pull complex behaviors out of a variety of sources with crafted prompts.”

The company described large language models – on which AI chatbots like ChatGPT and Claude are based – as “a new breed of intelligence” and said “the art of instructing them to deliver the best results is still in its infancy. ”

Overall, artificial intelligence is still in its infancy – profoundly, Kelly believes.

“The long-term effects of AI will affect our society more than electricity and fire,” he says, “but it will take centuries for its full effects to unfold.”

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