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AI Prompt Engineer? Jon Stewart Prefers The Term ‘Types-Question Guy’

Jon Stewart shares his thoughts on AI.

The Daily Show screenshot by Leslie Katz

Work as a “prompt engineer”? Comedian Jon Stewart thinks you should go by a different title: “types-question guy.”

In a 15-minute segment on The Daily Show posted online Monday, Stewart tackled the artificial-intelligence revolution, questioning AI’s usefulness; snarking on clearly AI-generated political images and deepfakes; and lamenting the impact AI is having on the workforce—both taking away jobs and adding new ones he’s not so sure of, like prompt engineer.

Prompt engineering involves coming up with inputs that guide generative AI models such as ChatGPT, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion to produce the desired output.

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“It’s the art of crafting targeted questions or instructions that direct AI to find and share the top on-point responses in incredibly fast real-time conversations,” my Forbes colleague Jack Kelly explains. “These professionals facilitate effective communication between users and AI.”

And that communication can be lucrative, with salaries for prompt engineers ranging from $200,000 to more than $300,000, Kelly reports.

While creatives I’ve spoken with talk about AI prompting as a human-machine collaboration that can require thought and time, Stewart doesn’t appear impressed by the idea of prompting as a job you declare on tax forms. “By the way, you’re not fooling anybody by adding the word ‘engineeer,’ he said. “It’s like a janitor is a ‘doctor of mopping.’”

Stewart, who started helming “The Daily Show” in 1999 and left in 2015, is famous for skewering political news—and virtually anything else worthy of social commentary. He returned to the show as a part-time host through this year’s elections following the departure of Trevor Noah in December 2022.

In the time the Emmy winner has been gone, artificial intelligence has become entrenched in daily life, generating a tangle of excitement and fear. Any cultural phenomenon this ubiquitous is begging to be made fun of, and comedians are delivering—in one example from last week, late-night host Stephen Colbert mocked that now famous giant AI-generated rat body part that appeared in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

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But as much laughter as Stewart’s segment generated, it focuses largely on his serious skepticism of the divide between what AI players who stand to make billions from the technology say it will do—like manage diseases and address climate change—and what it actually does and will do. And how that will affect workers.

If you like following spirited debates, look no further than the back and forth over AI: the greatest technological innovation since the internet, an evil Skynet or something in between?

The response to Stewart’s segment, not surprisingly, echoes that divide. While some on social media hailed his social commentary as “brilliant,” one called him a “fear mongering luddite.” Others, for better or worse, imagined what an AI version of Jon Stewart would look.

Originally Appeared Here

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