Simon Willison’s Weblog


AI Prompt Engineering Is Dead. Long live AI prompt engineering. Ignoring the clickbait in the title, this article summarizes research around the idea of using machine learning models to optimize prompts—as seen in tools such as Stanford’s DSPy and Google’s OPRO.

The article includes possibly the biggest abuse of the term “just” I have ever seen:

“But that’s where hopefully this research will come in and say ‘don’t bother.’ Just develop a scoring metric so that the system itself can tell whether one prompt is better than another, and then just let the model optimize itself.”

Developing a scoring metric to determine which prompt works better remains one of the hardest challenges in generative AI!

Imagine if we had a discipline of engineers who could reliably solve that problem—who spent their time developing such metrics and then using them to optimize their prompts. If the term “prompt engineer” hadn’t already been reduced to basically meaning “someone who types out prompts” it would be a pretty fitting term for such experts.