Monday 29 January 2024

"AI for the rest of us", Part II

Update: follow on Part III.

 My previous post (here) showed a useful if trivial example of Bing AI (here), not only replying in the addressed language but also quickly & easily teasing a relationship among related items.  Now let's look at a non-trivial common task, to summarise a 110 page document.

The prospectus for the re-purposed (here) is a comprehensive document: propose to help give 270 Cambridgeshire Peterborough Combined Authority (here) settlements a digital footprint, using AI tools as a showcase there. 

Researched & written by my business partner, I restructured and posted for ease of comment & review prior to selective sharing. It's quite easily done really... after 40 yrs. on-line in computer mapping (me) and digital journalism (him)! And we spent the last year or so studying Bing AI then Bard AI (here).

First order of business was to reduce the 110 pages into something an AI prompt could accept. Adding a link to the Google Doc didn't work, neither did pasting 110 pages. But I thought of restructuring it to condense the relevant text in the top 40 pages for ease of use, devolving the details below original Appendix to an Addendum for the long parts. All in an indexed document for ease of navigation. 

Stored in Google Docs made it a natural to try Bard AI... and the resulting 'short' text worked straight in the prompt! The longest part was reformatting the bullet list exported in awkward ASCII format - bullets are double stars and indents  triples, like bolding is single star and italics underscore before & after text string - but summarising was automatic and the result satisfactory. 

... This from a former scientist used to writing abstracts last, in a mind-bender to convey up to ten pages in a few simple paragraphs! 

This underscores, however, a point in the last of my AI series on Medium (here), that AI will work as a complement to rather than a replacement of human efforts: extend even allow erstwhile unthinkable tasks, but through human preparation and guidance; that is the promise and not the the peril of AI.

So while powers-that-be try to play God with AI, us humans can sure use a hand, as in Michelangelo's famous Sistine Chapel allegory. 


Update: simply click on Executive Summary here (private Google Docs) to see it.

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