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How to Write Solid AI Prompts


Prompting Essentials

A prompt is short text that you enter into Copilot to ask it to perform a task. A good prompt is like a recipe that tells Copilot what ingredients to use, where to find them, and how to combine them. This guide details the essential ingredients for a great prompt.

Understanding Prompts

AI prompts are instructions given to an AI system like Microsoft Copilot. They guide it to generate a specific output or perform a task. These prompts can range from simple text commands to complex, structured queries.

For example, let's say you want to create a Python function to calculate the Fibonacci sequence up to the 10th term. Your prompt might look like this: “Write a Python function to calculate the Fibonacci sequence up to the 10th term. Include comments for clarity and ensure the code is optimized for efficiency.”

How Do Prompts Work?

When you enter a prompt, it's processed by the AI model. This is a sophisticated programme called a neural network, and is 'trained' on huge datasets. it then uses pattern recognition to predict language. Transformers, which are tools that 'train' the AI model, interpret the prompts based on that training. They consider the context, intent, and specifics of the input. The AI then generates a response or output, and attempts to align it as closely as possible with the given prompt. It's not just regurgitating data, it tries to create an intelligent, contextual output.

Best Practices for Crafting Effective Prompts

Essential Ingredients

If you're stuck, try formulating your prompt like this:

  1. Goal. What do you want from Copilot? Example, 'I want a list of 3-5 bullet points to prepare me....'
  2. Context. Think about the context in which you're trying to achieve this goal. Example, '... for an upcoming meeting with X customer, focused on Y...'
  3. Tone. What tone do you want in the output? Example, 'Respond with enough detail to provide deep context...'
  4. Source. What is the data source? Example, '...and focus on email and Teams chat over the last couple of weeks.'

Remember, the key to maximising your use of AI tools lies in how you interact with them. Well-crafted prompts will create better output.

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