I Watched Star Trek Just to Learn How to Talk with AI

I Watched Star Trek Just to Learn How to Talk with AI

While searching for inspiration on how to better converse with AI, I turned to the iconic TV series Star Trek. The show’s depiction of humans interacting with the Enterprise’s onboard computer not only provided fascinating insights but also demonstrated the importance of effective communication with AI.

Learning from Starfleet

In the world of Star Trek, crew members interact with the ship’s computer through voice commands. It serves as a source of knowledge, controls various functions, and even offers suggestions when necessary. As I immersed myself in the series, I began to notice key communication techniques that the crew employed to get the most out of their AI assistant. Here are a few takeaways that I believe can improve our interactions with AI in the real world:

  • Be clear and concise

This would also help in communicating with people, but that’s another story. One of the most striking aspects of the crew’s interactions with the Enterprise computer is their clarity and conciseness. They use straightforward language and ask specific questions to ensure they receive the desired information.

Like when you say:
“computer” debug this code. The code should [provide info] [Insert code]
“computer” act as a plagiarism checker. I will write you sentences and you will reply plagiarism checks of the given text, nothing else. Do not write explanations.

Doesn’t that sound like Captain Picard verifying the doctoral theses of several members of the Romanian parliament?

  • Understand the limits of AI

While the Enterprise computer is exceptionally advanced, it is not infallible. Crew members understand its limitations and do not expect it to solve every problem or provide perfect solutions. Similarly, it’s essential to recognize that AI, no matter how advanced, has its limitations. It is crucial to use AI as a tool to assist us in decision-making rather than relying on it to make decisions for us.

  • Encourage collaboration

In Star Trek, the crew members work together with the computer, combining their human intuition and expertise with the AI’s vast knowledge and data processing capabilities. This collaborative approach allows them to tackle complex problems and make informed decisions. In our interactions with AI, we should strive to develop a partnership that leverages both human and AI strengths, fostering creativity and innovation.

Use AI ethically and responsibly

Star Trek often emphasizes the importance of ethics, particularly when it comes to technology. The crew is mindful of the potential consequences of their actions and takes responsibility for their decisions. 

As AI becomes more pervasive in our lives, we need to start this discussion as well. How to use it ethically and responsibly, being aware of potential biases and ensuring that it serves the greater good. Star Trek’s portrayal of AI-human interaction provides valuable lessons on effective communication with AI. By being clear and concise, understanding the limits of AI, fostering collaboration, and using AI ethically and responsibly, we can make the most of this revolutionary technology. In addition, it seems that it helps us to better understand the way we communicate.

In my interactions with various AI, I learned that sometimes my communication is not as clear as I would have thought. I noticed several times that I needed to reformulate the prompts not because the AI didn’t understand but because I wasn’t clear enough. Especially when it comes to context. Which makes me think that learning prompting could also make you a better communicator.

Anyway, as we venture further into the age of AI, let us boldly go where no one has gone before. I know I know, maybe it was a little too much Star Trek.

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