AI whisperer

The Humanities Are the New STEM…Whaddayaknow

Bloomberg recently published an article entitled “$335,000 Pay for ‘AI Whisperer’ Jobs Appears in Red-Hot Market” with the following lede: “The fast-growing apps have created a seller’s market for anyone — even liberal arts grads — capable of manipulating its output.”

You gotta “love” the dismissive adverb “even” as the scribe relates it to Liberal Arts grads. There’s also quite a dollop of irony and poetic justice in the fact that tech/engineering companies are divesting themselves of their vaunted STEM pros by the tens of thousands and, instead, they are now apparently hiring poets — and for similar exospheric salaries as the ones previously lavished on their more analytical counterparts.

Both headline and lede left us wholly satisfied, thus rendering further reading quite an unappealing effort. The journalistic piece shall remain mostly untouched. (It’s also behind a paywall, but we digress.)

Our own incursions in the realm of artificial intelligence via the grotesquely and customarily overinflated label of “prompt engineering” indicate that it’s infinitely more useful to have a good grasp of, say, art history, rhetoric, and literature than functions, loops, or recursion. Ouch.

Turns out that maybe we should have called the simple method of asking a bot for help “prompt poetics” instead.

And the vernacular recommendation to “learn to code” might be reframed as “learn to sonnet” or “learn art criticism” because there is no better interlocutor for a computer than another computer. They can dispense with the unnecessary formalities of high- and even low-level programming languages, protocols, interfaces and the like. It was all for us humans anyway, at a time when computers were stupid (and incredible fast at being so).

AI drastically lowers their level of stultitia while their rapidity remains unchanged. So, now the really valuable computer science skill is to speak articulate English (or whatever human language).

You can’t write this stuff up (although GPT4 can).

And, by the way, the more educated the human AI whisperer the better. Someone with a vast vocabulary to try different turns of phrase and synonyms or antonyms; knowledge of art techniques and history to guide the bot’s output toward desired results; an understanding of the basic mechanisms of rhetoric…

America’s schools have their work cut out for them.