#33: New AI workshops for non-profit leaders, sharing prompts, and juicy reads
Photo from a weekend visit to Seattle, October 2023
So I have news. Over the next 2-3 months, with some colleagues, I am developing hands-on AI training workshops to help non-profit leaders use generative AI platforms in their work. We’re piloting workshops now, and plan to roll them out in the first months of 2024.
The workshops will teach basic skills like writing effective prompts to generate donor thank you letters, and then go all the way to teaching more advanced use cases such as using AI to refine strategic plans and support effective donor analysis.
It's important to recognize how threatening the development of AI feels to peoples' jobs and how inequitable access to emerging tech can be. Typically, people outside privileged networks lack access to training on new tools like AI. That's why we are committed to affordable workshops and partnering with communities to co-create relevant, ethical training on AI systems for this project. Our goal is to make these powerful technologies accessible to all non-profits interested in leveraging AI.
This is all still somewhat early stage, but I’m excited about it. I also feel like it fits well into my competencies and things I enjoy; much of my early career success was about helping people understand and build skills in using the Internet; later, I did training and facilitation in my work around civic engagement and tech for The Knight Foundation, and still later, supported access to skills for young people at Hack the Hood. If you are a non-profit leader interested in partnering and piloting these workshops, or a potential collaborator of some kind and would like to connect– please reach out. We’ll make a bigger announcement in early 2024, so consider this a small advance notice.
Bad Summer People by Emma Rosenbloom, Macmillan, May 2023: One of my fav Substack writers, Abigail Koffler from This Needs Hot Sauce, recommended this novel by Emma Rosenbloom, describing it as a “juicy rich people behaving badly” book, so I had to get it immediately. Reportedly inspired by watching Mike White’s The White Lotus, It is a delicious, fun read!
Maggie Smith, You Could Make This Place Beautiful, Atria/One Signal Publishers, April 2023. Maggie Smith’s memoir about the start and end of her marriage and the adjustments and shifts in identity these big life changes clarified range so deeply true for me. Smith has a big heart, and lots of feelings, but she also has a delicacy that makes her sensitive to others’ feelings, even the selfish, angry husband portrayed in this book. Like so many memoirs, Smith’s also has the joy of transcendence: seeing the character move beyond the limitations of that time into something more real and heartfelt.
Richard MacManus, The Bubble Blog, Substack, Spring 2023, My old friend and colleague Richard MacManus, who wrote the invaluable Read/Write Web blog back in blogging’s early days, launched Bubble Blog: From Outsider to Insider in Silicon Valley’s Web 2.0 Revolution, a serialized memoir published on Substack beginning in October 2023. (He says that it will be released as a paperback book in early 2024).
Richard and I were a part of those early days of blogging together, 20023-2007, when there was a small group of very obsessed technologists and community engagement folks inventing something that seemed like the opposite of traditional “Big” media. Richard’s memoir is a great read (so far), and if you were a part of these early days, or want to learn about this now, this is one of the good resources to explore.
MAKING: Peeking Over the AI Fence: What I Learned From Reviewing Other People's Prompts
As I’ve been working with and learning more about generative AI platforms, especially Claude, ChatGPT, and BARD, I've become fascinated by understanding how other people use prompts. When I learned about a Chrome extension called ShareGPT launched in December 2022, I got excited. The website described it as a way to "Share your wildest ChatGPT conversations" and noted 390,903 conversations had been shared so far. My mind raced with ideas of peeking into an active community forum for analyzing and learning from others' AI prompts.
However, after exploring ShareGPT, I quickly realized it wasn't quite the prompt-sharing hub I had envisioned. The tool's purpose was more for privately sharing specific chat exchanges with individuals, not public exploration. But even with limited access, I was able to look at some examples that offered insights into creative ways people interact with these AI tools.
For instance, one conversation on the ShareGPT homepage provided a look at using AI for multi-step analysis and strategy development. It appeared to be written by David Sacks, who published a blog post with a similar title to the one in the chat on his blog in March 2023.
Step-by-step, this prompt exchange showcases how the user leveraged the AI for research, ideation, content creation, and iteration. Over a series of exchanges, the user guided the AI through summarizing a technology's history, analyzing a business model, expanding the analysis to other sectors, and drafting and revising a full blog post. This multistage prompt sequence offered good insights into how I might break down complex assignments for AI in my work.
While ShareGPT had reasons to take down the Explore page that shared more prompts, reviewing the prompts on their home page provided useful lessons in writing prompts and exploring AI platform capacities.
If you have access to forums or resources that share or review public AI interactions, please let me know. ! I'd love to keep discovering new prompt strategies and approaches.
Because you made it this far: On Spotify, I stumbled across a series of playlists from a French music festival called Bars en Trans, which has been providing a platform for the best of new French music for the past 20 years. The Spotify playlists are great and I’ve had the one from 2023 on all weekend. And of course, now I am dreaming of spending time in Rennes, the city in Brittany where this event is held. Here’s a video from one of the artists I enjoyed, Cindy Pooch, in concert in August 2023.
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All best, Susan