4. Advanced Prompt Engineering

Mastering prompt engineering requires that you familiarize yourself with advanced prompting strategies and techniques that we'll cover in this chapter. You'll learn how to leverage language and strategic questioning to optimize your prompt creation process and achieve exceptional outcomes in your legal practice.

Choosing the right model and parameters

The first step in prompt engineering is to select the appropriate model and parameters for your task. Different models have different strengths and weaknesses, depending on their architecture, training data, and objectives. For example, some models are better at generating fluent and coherent text, while others are better at extracting factual information or reasoning logically. Some models are more general-purpose and can handle a variety of tasks, while others are more specialized and fine-tuned for specific domains or applications.
To choose the right model and parameters, you need to consider the following factors:
  • The type and complexity of your task: Is it a classification, generation, or extraction task? Is it open-ended or closed-ended? Does it require common sense, domain knowledge, or creativity?
  • The input and output format: What kind of text do you want to provide as input and receive as output? Is it a sentence, a paragraph, or a document? Is it structured or unstructured? Is it formal or informal?
  • The quality and quantity of your data: How much data do you have to train or fine-tune your model? How reliable and diverse is your data? How do you handle missing or noisy data?
  • The performance and resource constraints: How fast and accurate do you want your model to be? How much compute power and memory do you have available? How do you balance speed and quality?
Depending on these factors, you may want to use different models and parameters for different tasks. For example, if you want to generate a short summary of a news article, you may want to use a model that is pre-trained on large-scale text corpora and fine-tuned on summarization datasets, such as PEGASUS or BART. If you want to generate a long story based on a few keywords, you may want to use a model that is trained on creative writing datasets and has a large vocabulary and context window, such as GPT-3 or DALL-E.

Using natural language instructions and examples

The second step in prompt engineering is to use natural language instructions and examples to guide the system to perform your task. Natural language instructions are sentences that describe what you want the system to do, such as "Write a blog post titled 'Advanced Prompt Engineering'" or "Summarize the main points of this article in three sentences". Natural language examples are pairs of input and output texts that illustrate how the system should perform the task, such as:
Input: Write a blog post titled "Advanced Prompt Engineering" Output: Prompt engineering is the art and science of designing effective prompts for natural language processing (NLP) systems. A prompt is a piece of text that guides the system to perform a specific task...
Input: Summarize the main points of this article in three sentences Output: The article discusses how prompt engineering can improve the performance of NLP systems. It provides tips and tricks for choosing the right model and parameters, using natural language instructions and examples, leveraging external knowledge sources and context, and evaluating and refining prompts. It also gives some examples of prompt engineering applications in various domains.
Natural language instructions and examples can help the system understand your task better by providing clear goals, expectations, and constraints. They can also help the system generate more relevant, coherent, and consistent responses by providing reference points, templates, and variations. However, natural language instructions and examples are not always sufficient or optimal for prompt engineering. Sometimes, they can be ambiguous, incomplete, or misleading. For example:
  • Ambiguous: "Write an essay about cats" (What kind of essay? What aspects of cats? What tone and style?)
  • Incomplete: "Write a poem" (What kind of poem? What topic? What rhyme scheme?)
  • Misleading: "Write a summary of this article" (What if the article is too long or too complex to summarize?)
To avoid these problems, you need to make sure that your natural language instructions and examples are:
  • Specific: Define your task clearly and precisely
  • Complete: Cover all the important aspects and details of your task
  • Consistent: Align your instructions and examples with each other and with your task
  • Relevant: Provide only the information that is necessary and useful for your task
  • Diverse: Include different types of inputs and outputs to capture the variability of your task

Leveraging external knowledge sources and context

The third step in prompt engineering is to leverage external knowledge sources and context to enrich the prompt. External knowledge sources are any sources of information that are not part of the input or output text, such as databases, ontologies, dictionaries, encyclopedias, or web pages. Context is any information that is related to the input or output text, such as the author, the audience, the genre, the date, or the location. For example:
Input: Write a blog post titled "Advanced Prompt Engineering" External knowledge source: Wikipedia page on "Natural language processing" Context: The blog post is for an NLP enthusiast website
External knowledge sources and context can help the system generate more accurate, relevant, and interesting responses by providing additional facts, concepts, relations, or perspectives. They can also help the system avoid errors, inconsistencies, or repetitions by providing verification, clarification, or diversification. However, external knowledge sources and context are not always available or accessible for prompt engineering. Sometimes, they can be incomplete, outdated, or unreliable. For example:
  • Incomplete: The Wikipedia page on "Natural language processing" does not cover all the aspects and applications of NLP
  • Outdated: The Wikipedia page on "Natural language processing" may not reflect the latest developments and trends in NLP
  • Unreliable: The Wikipedia page on "Natural language processing" may contain errors or biases
To overcome these challenges, you need to make sure that your external knowledge sources and context are:
  • Relevant: Select the sources and context that are most related to your task
  • Reliable: Choose the sources and context that are most trustworthy and authoritative
  • Up-to-date: Update the sources and context regularly to reflect the current state of affairs
  • Compatible: Integrate the sources and context smoothly with your input and output text

Evaluating and refining your prompts

The final step in prompt engineering is to evaluate and refine your prompts using feedback and metrics. Feedback is any form of response or reaction that you receive from the system or from other users after providing a prompt. Metrics are any quantitative or qualitative measures that you use to assess the performance of the system or the quality of the output after providing a prompt. For example:
Input: Write a blog post titled "Advanced Prompt Engineering" Output: Prompt engineering is the art and science of designing effective prompts for natural language processing (NLP) systems... Feedback: Positive comments from other users on the blog post Metrics: Number of views, likes, shares, comments on the blog post
Feedback and metrics can help you evaluate and refine your prompts by providing insights, suggestions, or corrections. They can also help you improve your prompt engineering skills by providing learning opportunities, challenges, or rewards. However, feedback and metrics are not always available or reliable for prompt engineering. Sometimes, they can be subjective, inconsistent, or noisy. For example:
  • Subjective: Different users may have different opinions or preferences on the output
  • Inconsistent: The same user may have different reactions or expectations on different outputs
  • Noisy: The feedback or metrics may be influenced by external factors or random events
To deal with these issues, you need to make sure that your feedback and metrics are:
  • Representative: Collect feedback and metrics from a diverse and representative sample of users
  • Consistent: Compare feedback and metrics across similar inputs and outputs
  • Robust: Filter out feedback and metrics that are irrelevant or unreliable

Summary

Prompt engineering is a powerful technique for enhancing the performance of NLP systems. By following these tips and tricks for advanced prompt engineering, you can create effective prompts that can elicit high-quality responses from the system. You can also apply prompt engineering to various domains and applications, such as summarization, generation, extraction, classification, translation, question answering, sentiment analysis, dialogue systems, chatbots, recommender systems, etc.