Knowing how to talk to machines will increasingly become a strategic skill, as explained by Jacopo Perfetti, founder of the first course in Italy dedicated to design through Artificial Intelligence

Since the use of artificial intelligence applied to projects has exploded, the world continues to divide itself as in the stadium: on one side the supporters, on the other the enemies of the various ChatGPT and Midjourney.

Meanwhile, a generation of visionaries has begun working to transform the ability to talk to the machine into a skill for tomorrow's resumes. Indeed, thanks to people like Jacopo Perfetti that competence is already written in black and white on a few hundred résumés.

Perfetti - professor at Bocconi, essayist and founder, together with Stefano Agresti, of the studio Oblique.Ai - is the mind behind the first course organized in Italy in prompt design: a series of lessons, to be followed on Zoom , to learn to communicate with artificial intelligence and obtain from duly trained software (through inputs) the results we expect (outputs).

At the heart of the course is the word prompt, literally the 'command' with which we assign the brief to the machine: the clearer the prompt, the more we can expect from the software the results worthy of the revolution in progress.

But for the uninitiated, the prompt risks resembling something esoteric, halfway between a mantra and an oracle. Or, conversely, material for nerds. In reality it is a formula that unites science and humanistic culture.

"As entrepreneur Marc Andreessen says, tomorrow the world will be divided between those who will tell computers what to do and those to whom computers will tell what to do. This is why building effective prompts is already a strategic skill now".

How does one come to talk about a new profession like that of the prompt designer?

"I have been working with AI for several years, in 2019 I was already using GPT-2, the program that OpenAI had launched that year and which would evolve into ChatGpt. It was primordial software, but it was enough to understand that we were faced with something that would change the world of work.

Until last November we were struggling to bring these programs to companies, then, since the end of last year, with the explosion of Midjourney and ChatGPT, we started to have a following important.

We launched the course a little quietly in December, today we have reached the twentieth edition, we have trained a thousand students including employees of multinationals".

Creatives and companies already have platforms available that sell prompts for the most diverse needs: why should one become a prompt designer to get the cover of a book or the facade of a building from the computer?

"I answer with a now familiar example: that of the social media expert. There are social media professionals who work vertically on specific customer needs, but we could hardly say that today anyone can do without knowing at least broadly how Instagram works and Facebook In short: you can go to the prompt market every day, but you should know how it worksona quel mondo".

So the prompt designer won't be so much a specialization as a sort of skill that we all need to have?

"Both one and the other. On the one hand, to become a prompt designer you need less technical skills than those of a good web designer, but on the other you need an attitude that is perhaps rarer and hard to find, i.e. being able to talk to machines.

Let's say that transversal training is needed capable of solving problems with creative logic.

We must accept the idea that the solution to a problem can come from a different world than the one we normally inhabit. We will most likely learn to use ChatGPT as we use smartphones to take photographs today: AI could become a pocket commodity like many others already available, which does not exclude the existence of very vertical super-professionals".

Should a prompt designer be more familiar with words or images?

"With both, and that's why it's difficult at the moment to find highly prepared ones. Training an all-round prompt designer is precisely one of the objectives of the course.

After all, combining text and photos is a typical skill of social media professionals: if that profession has existed for years, I don't see why another one based on the same attitude but focused on different outputs shouldn't grow".

Is the prompt designer a more humanistic or more technological profession?

"I would say more humanities. Ours, for example, is a no code course: you don't write a line of code in class and you don't need to know how to do it to bring home the certificate.

Myself, if I had to choose a prompt designer to be trained from scratch for my company, I would start from a figure with a strong humanistic background to be strengthened with technological skills, rather than the other way around.

We are talking about a very young technology, waiting to be explored. Being a good programmer could even be a limitation. After all, the prompt is a mix of creativity and science; with the same formula, you can have different results.

The prompts are not exact formulas, the attitude they require is creative and not mechanical. The machine remains a detonator and not a substitute for the human being".

Let's imagine shooting Mad Men in 2030: in the agency led by Don Draper would we find a super prompt designer or would everyone, graphic designers and copywriters, know how to use AI?

"First of all, let's shoot this scene in 2023, because it's already a reality… At the meeting we would probably find four, five creatives who think freely, in an analogical way, and a prompt designer connected to ChatGPT or Midjourney, in charge of making live ground the ideas jotted down on the spot.

It's an experiment we've already done this year during a creative retreat for a company. We are not talking about the future, but about the present".