I Don’t Know $#!& About AI and You Don’t Have to Either!

I Don’t Know $#!& About AI and You Don’t Have to Either!

If you’re anything like me, you’ve felt both the thrill and the disappointment that comes with navigating the world of AI. With new information arriving daily, it can be like trying to hit a moving target. You may find yourself attempting an inventive way to write a prompt or tweak a plugin, only to discover it’s obsolete by the time you figure it out. When something novel and complicated comes along, it’s easy to start feeling like you’ve already missed the boat. 

What if I told you the boat is an illusion? 

What if I told you, it doesn’t matter whether you learn how to turn AI prompts into crypto NFT gold? Or gold into crypto? Or crypto into Google Search Console (GSC) metrics? What if I told you that the best thing you could do in the AI space right now is to stop reading and start doing?

From Childcraft to AI: A Journey of Doing 

I’m fortunate enough to have grown up with Childcraft: The How and Why Library. It was an encyclopedia set for kids with volumes like “World and Space”, “How Things Change” and “Life Around Us”. If you treated the volumes well and actually read them, your parents might buy the more grown-up World Book when you were old enough. “Make and Do” was my favorite and I still have it. It’s completely covered in grime and glue.

AI isn’t smart. ChatGPT isn’t smart. It’s just predicting the next word in a series.

I attempted every project in that book. My favorite thing to make was shoes. Actual shoes. Our garage was littered with various iterations of them. It was a revelation to 5-year-old me that if I followed the instructions, I would end up with shoes I could possibly wear. Spoiler: I was not allowed to wear the shoes.

How does this relate to ChatGPT? My friends, it’s the same thing! AI isn’t smart. ChatGPT isn’t smart. It’s just predicting the next word in a series. Sure, it’s the Babe Ruth of that kind of thing, but it is absolutely, positively not smarter than you.

I’m not a scientist and I don’t know how large language models work. That is also part of my point. Back in 1975, when I was an aspiring cobbler, did I know what a printing press was? OK, I did, but did I know how to operate one? Did I understand bookbinding or how the words that came to live in my Make and Do book got there? Nope. It never even crossed my mind. I just started making and doing. This is the same. 

The AI Rollercoaster: Keeping Up with the Pace

I may not be able to understand how large language models work, but I’ve been interested in AI, have been using it, and following the research for years. Conversion, which became Jarvis, which became Jasper. MidJourney. Duplex (lol). And who can forget Libratus, the system that Carnegie Mellon built to play Texas Hold ‘Em?

But when ChatGPT became the new hotness this year, it took me exactly one week to feel like I was late to the party, and nothing would ever be good again. I was overwhelmed with information and advice being provided by “experts” and none of it seemed relevant to me, but all of it seemed like something I needed to know right now. 

A Helping Hand from ChatGPT: The Birth of the AI Assistant 

If speed dial had existed for 5-year-old me, the Greenville County Library would have lived at spot number one. I was told you could call them up and ask them anything, so I took that at face value and pretty much called them daily.

It dawned on me that I might be able to get ChatGPT to act in a similar way. If I told it I was overwhelmed with new information about large language models and that there were many things I wanted to know and do, but I didn’t know how to get started, what would it say? Imagine my delight when it replied with a question.

“What do you want to do with a large language model?”. Dang it Cheshire Cat, you’re right!

Because I didn’t know what I wanted to do, it didn’t really matter how I got started. It turned out, just like most things, I needed an end goal. 

My AI Assistant’s Debut: A Technical SEO Trivia Game 

After a little back and forth with my new digital assistant, I determined that I wanted to create something fun to show off to my coworkers. A trivia game about everyone’s favorite subject: technical SEO! I thought the easiest and quickest way to accomplish this was to create a very simple website that had a trivia game embedded in it. I had been developing websites for years but decided to forget everything I ever knew and let ChatGPT tell me how.

A screenshot of a game that's been built using chatGPT

I ended up with an extremely simple site with questions and answers completely written by ChatGPT. We played the game in our team meeting, and it was fun. The game took me less than 30 minutes from start to finish and that was only because I tweaked the CSS for vanity’s sake. So, what came next? What did I “need”? 

The next project kind of fell into my lap. Because I wouldn’t shut up about ChatGPT and MidJourney, I was voluntold to do an Office Hours session about it. So now I was going to be one of those people who tells other people how to leverage AI for fun and profit. How could I do this but make it lighthearted and not boring or scary and make it absolutely clear that I wasn’t an expert?

I decided to let ChatGPT do all the heavy lifting. It wrote the entire presentation and MidJourney provided all the images. I used carrd.co to park the site and at the time it almost seemed like magic. 

The Personal Concierge of Awesome: ChatGPT in Daily Life 

I’m not going to pretend that at this point my main goal was using AI professionally. I used it to write scenarios for my partner’s D&D sessions, to create music based on famous chess games, to find out where the best places to retire will be based on climate change data. The possibilities are endless when you treat these tools as your own personal concierge of awesome.

Bored while waiting in the doctor’s office? Tell it you’re bored and ask it to entertain you.

Bored Doctors Office

Having a panic attack and need a distraction? Ask it to tell you something good.

Something Good

Hear an interesting line in a song, movie or show and wonder what that would look like as an image? MidJourney it! [The best lyric from one of the greatest songs ever written, Wichita Lineman.]

Song Lyrics

Dinner party hits a snag and you need to lighten the mood? Get MidJourney to show you “are birds fish”.

Are Birds Fish

Or “lizard man, but he’s here to help”. 

Lizardman Here To Help

But wait. I thought we were supposed to be thinking about how AI tools can make us money and leverage the widgets and circle back on the strategery. Sometimes the progress is the profit and if progress means you use these tools to get through the day with some levity, you are leveling up.

Eagle-eyed readers probably spotted something pretty MidJourney about my face, too. I wanted to see how well it could replicate a picture of myself. Shamefully, it’s really difficult to get MidJourney to create people who are of a certain size. But I’ve managed to create a persona who isn’t slim and has my actual face, via face swap.

The Freedom to Use AI, Your Way 

Are there a million tutorials out there offering you secret sauces to optimize your prompts for these tools? Sure, there are. I won’t say that I never dip my toes into those waters. They’re a part of the expansive and exciting landscape of AI, and they can lead to some amazing results.

You don’t have to go down the rabbit hole of optimizations to get value out of these tools.

But here’s the truth that I’ve come to embrace and want to share with you: you don’t have to go down the rabbit hole of optimizations to get value out of these tools. There is an inherent power and potential in AI, and it’s accessible to all of us, even at the most basic level. You may barely know how to use them, and they can still transform your personal life and your work life in ways you couldn’t have imagined a few months ago. 

Don’t let the noise of “experts”, the litany of articles, or the pressure of “getting it right” intimidate you or keep you from exploring the AI realm. These tools are your allies, ready to assist, inspire, and amplify your efforts. They can turn a mundane task into an exciting project or convert a daunting challenge into an achievable goal. Or, they can simply make friends and family laugh around the dinner table.

Give yourself the freedom to use AI, your way. Step in with curiosity, engage with openness and don’t get swept away by the tidal wave of AI complexities. Instead, enjoy the ride. Embrace the technology that’s here to help you make, do, and achieve more. Remember, the journey with AI is not about reaching a destination; it’s about the possibilities you discover along the way. So, start where you are, use what you have, and dive into the incredible world of AI–one prompt at a time.


Holly Deitz
About the author
Holly Deitz is a Product Specialist for Lumar (formerly Deepcrawl), and enjoys experimenting with AI and large language models. She and her partner reside in South Carolina, where everyday is a culinary adventure!

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