Prompt Engineers, Design Revolutions, and Roundup #23
One day “organoid intelligence” (OI) will be bigger than AI. Until then, there are scienced-up surfaces to paint, funky foods to try, and prompts to complete.
Image of Refik Anadol’s Unsupervised — Machine Hallucinations at MoMA
The New New is wearing the number 23.
For this Michael Jordan of issues, there are two shots at scoops of perception. Both attempts step into the hype-riddled world of generative AI.
In the space between, the roundup bounces through an incredible lineup of intrigue.
Let’s jump in.
One Big Thing
Prompt Engineers Everywhere
The power of generative AI is just wordplay.
The interface between AI’s potential and what a human wants out of the AI is the prompt—that simple text box with its blinking cursor. The making of AI magic is unlocked in the prompts that people provide it. From launching a $100 startup with ChatGPT as your business partner to the incredible explorations in You Probably Need a Robot’s Midjourney Discord channels, it is clear that excellent prompt writing leads to mind-bending results.
Those who can wrangle prompts and maximize generative outputs are in incredible demand.
Deemed the hottest job in technology and commanding salaries of $335,000, the rise of Prompt Engineers has been swift. The breadth of people educating us on this craft is everywhere. While this may not stop the rapid decline of English majors at US universities, one prompt engineer told Bloomberg: “You’ll often find prompt engineers come from a history, philosophy or English language background, because it’s wordplay.”
As AI tools become more pervasive across business and our daily lives, we will all become AI Whisperers in our own right.
Organoid Intelligence (OI), growing biocomputers to power the (bigger than AI) future of computing
DeSci, or the decentralized science movement, will change the future of food
Cell Painting, a simpler, less expensive research method that will change the future of drug development
Plasmonic Paint, inspired by butterflies, is lightweight, environmentally friendly, durable, and non-heat-trapping
Iceless Roads, mixing asphalt with a solution that melts ice before it can form
Metasurface Pixels, delivering thinner panels, higher resolution, faster response times, and lower power consumption
Powdered Beer, created by German monks, just add water, and you’ll be sipping through a foamy head and full flavor
Vibrating Pills, addressing chronic constipation without the use of drugs
Planning to Avoid
Flying Squid Bots with “unprecedented” future capabilities and unnatural forms
Greenhushing, keeping sustainability work quiet to avoid perceptions that you’re really greenwashing
Poisoning, preparing for hackers who want to exploit AI — like teaching a neural network that a panda
is a school bus
The Pending Instructional Design Revolution
Beyond changing the constructs of productivity, AI will dramatically change educational experiences.
Generative AI is fueling an exponential expansion of content and media. In a world where media consumption habits waver between doom-scrolling and binge-watching, the rise of AI-driven content will slide in frictionlessly while malleably aligning with every viewer’s personal whim.
As AI makes getting instant content and detailed answers to questions easier, everything will get smoother. Less friction = less retention. Less effort = less education.
Yet, our species has an innate passion for learning. We need to learn and push ourselves.
Humans learn best at the intersection of struggle and access. As AI removes that conflict, big questions emerge: How will educational experiences change within the constructs of an endlessly, instantly personalized content-filled world? How will the psychology of learning transform? What will be the next great revolution in instructional design?
Big questions get big answers. The future of learning is a space to watch.
Still Rattling Around
Hard to believe it has been only ten months since I first got early access to DALL‑E 2’s new text-to-image AI. Back then, I spent hours playing with prompts and, ultimately, created the cover image for Issue 15.
And that was just a small piece of that wild issue. Also, in that issue, we had a food futurologist, a revived forgotten American fruit, Velveeta-scented nail polish, cheese fraud fighters, underwater wineries, and air vodka all coming together. The issue also included a dose of innovation, with electric fabrics, bionic reading, and a pending fear of the rising Big Voice industry.
The New New brings together the important and the irreverent across emerging experiences, culture-driven experiments, and scoops of perception.
Okay, off to chase my mammoth meatballs and powered beer with a vibrating pill.