The Art and Science of AI Prompt Engineering

The key prompt engineering skill for generative AI may be understanding how different models pay attention to different parts of a prompt rather than crafting the "perfect" prompt.


  • Prompt engineering has emerged as an important skill for getting good results from generative AI tools.
  • However, different language models pay attention to different parts of a prompt - some focus on the beginning, some the end, some the middle.
  • So crafting an ideal prompt requires understanding precisely how each model handles prompts.
  • This makes prompt engineering much more complex than with past technologies like Boolean search.
  • We may have to wait for more scientific testing to understand prompt interactions before we can effectively train lawyers on prompt engineering.
  • The legal industry's oscillation between calling the technology "AI" and "machine learning" mirrors what happened more broadly in tech.
  • Issues like summarization could fail if models ignore parts of documents that lawyers might expect to be incorporated.


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